Friday, May 30, 2008


We had read about ferret-legging when searching out things to do on our first trip to the UK in 1997. Let me correct that impression: we weren't going to do it ourselves, we wanted to watch someone else do it. Yorkshire was the home base of this "sport," which involves stuffing two ferrets into your pants and seeing how long you can endure their biting, fighting, and scrambling around. Competitions tended to last 20 or 30 seconds - I don't find that surprising - and were held in semi-secret, as the sport is illegal.

Participants are not allowed to wear underwear, by the way.

I'm all for not unduly distressing animals for human sport, but it's hard to see how the primary worry in this is how hard it is on the ferrets. Especially as ferrets are evil.

70-year-old Reg Mellor thought the world record of forty seconds was shamefully wimpy, and shortly after taking up the sport set a new record of over four hours.
"The ferrets must have a full mouth o' teeth," Reg Mellor said as he fiddled with his belt. "No filing of the teeth; no clipping. No dope for you or the ferrets. You must be sober, and the ferrets must be hungry-though any ferret'll eat yer eyes out even if he isn't hungry."
An excerpt of Donald Katz's story about the king of the ferret-leggers is here. Reg is certainly a colorful guy.

A fragment of an unrelated second story about a voyeur follows, but can be ignored.


Anonymous said...

I had a ferret as a pet for three years, and can say that they - as with all the weasel family - are highly intelligent creatures who can sense your emotions and react instantly upon them. But I would never have one again without a cellar for them to run around in and do whatever - they exhaust any cat even, and I can only imagine a small hyper terrier being able to keep with their energy level (though when they finally sleep they're virtually comatose). Anyway definitely one of God's most perfect creatures, but meant for the wild really. Cheers.

Ben Wyman said...

I did a quick search for ferret legging on YouTube - did you know they do this with volunteers at Ren Faires?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Wussy ferrets. Are British ferrets wilder than our pet-store ones? I imagine that's possible.