Alerted by her dogs barking, April Macias found an unusual visitor in her yard — a ferret.
She said she found the slender, white and black-tipped creature in the corner of her dog’s kennel. Macias said she picked up the domesticated mammal, took it in the house, put it in a cage and called animal control.
“At first I thought it was like a rat ... Then I thought it was a prairie dog ... I thought it came from the zoo because we live near there,” Macias said.
While she waited, she said she fed it lettuce and watched its antics.
“We really enjoyed having it for that little moment of time,” she said.
Animal Control Officer Larry Rogers said it’s not the first time a wayward ferret has been found. They usually turn up about twice a year.
Ferrets, which average 20 inches in length and weigh 2 to 4 pounds, by nature are escape artists, he said. “It knows how to find the holes real quick. They love to hide.”
Rogers said he called a woman who had posted a lost ferret notice as soon as he returned to the shelter but said the woman disappointedly reported it wasn’t a match for her missing pet.
After a meal of cat food, the domestic weasel made itself at home, rooting around in blankets and exploring.
“It’s just playing around, It’s real friendly. It has just been trying to find places to hide,” Rogers said.
The ferret, which the staff has been calling the “Snowball,” will be available for adoption Thursday, Rogers said.
Based on past experience, the critter will find a home fast, he said. “Every one that we get, they always find homes.”
• Domestic ferrets are small, furry mammals with a long, slender and flexible body, whose average size ranges from 1 to 5 pounds at maturity. They have a life span of six to 10 years.
• The domestic ferret should not be confused with the wild black-footed ferret, an endangered species native to the Midwest.
• Ferrets are often kept as pets. They are hailed for an independent personality with the fact they enjoy being with people. Their mischievous and playful nature, retained well into old age, makes them entertaining companions.