Friday Ferretblogging

My camera-computer connection’s on the fritz for some reason, so via commenter Kaleberg I give you this story about howferrets, like dogs, understand pointing and eye contact:

First, the three groups of animals were compared for their tolerance for eye-contact. The domestic species – ferrets and dogs – tolerated prolonged eye-contact from their owners, but not from strangers, while the wild mustelids did not show this distinction. Ferrets and dogs were also both more likely to accept food from their owners than from strangers, while the wild mustelids made their approach decisions randomly, equally preferring their owners and a stranger (In fact, there was a slight but statistically insignificant preference for the stranger!) In both experiments, domestic ferrets’ performance was significantly different from the wild mustelids, but not statistically distinguishable from the responses of the domestic dogs. Rather than sorting along genetic lines, performance in these tasks could be explained by domestication.

Even though Bucky, when I point at the litter box, pretends to have no idea what I’m doing.

Thank you all for your kind words about Tilly this week. I miss my sweet little feather-cat terribly.

The others seem to know something’s different; Riot has been insistent on playing with me, chasing me around the dining room table, and Claire’s trying to take over lap/snuggle duties and doing a good job.

Bucky’s just being twice as much a monster as he usually is. When the camera starts working again I’ve got to show you guys some video of him trying to open the kitchen door. It’s like a perfect illustration of the nature of unshakeable faith.


4 thoughts on “Friday Ferretblogging

  1. Thank you for ferret blogging, it is such a relief to have something besides what passes for “news” and politics-as-usual.
    You are right about the mustilids, my own ferrets will share long serious glances, but look away if I am trying to get them to do something they have no interest in doing. But it was a wild weasel, 24 years ago, in my own front yard, that enchanted me so much I had to have pet ferrets. The little golden beast was running the rail fence when I came out the door. It stopped and stared at me, I stared back…completely mesmerized. It obviously had no fear at all and didn’t back up or look away even when I walked within 15 feet of it.
    I am completely besotted with the mustilid clan.

  2. Re: Bucky, well, food and litter boxes aren’t quite the same thing (even if there is some relation between the two)…
    Slightly off topic, but after a LONG storm (in my opinion worse than Gustav in 2008) and longer power outage, electricity was restored on my block this morning. Glad it’s back, though was mildly frustrated because plenty of neighbors didn’t even lose power…but consider myself lucky. No damage to the house, only a single downed tree in the neighborhood (though lots of debris, leaves, branches, and so on).
    Texted Adrastos and he’s still out. Finally able to see pictures of NOLA and other areas. Yikes.
    And I hear Mitt Romney’s coming this way to pretend to empathize with the storm victims. Maybe he’ll tell the story about the time his electricity went out and the car elevator wouldn’t work…

  3. Quite interesting. One of the first things I had to learn in working with dogs was the different interpretations of body language, such as a stare was a threatening action.

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