Those who know little about ferrets got a treat ? and an education ? in Krakow last week.
The Second International Ferret Exhibition included ferret beauty contests. It also included tests of athleticism and agility, such as eating eggs, drinking milk, holding a kiss the longest, standing on two feet the longest, racing other ferrets through a tunnel and conquering barriers in a steeplechase-type race.
The exhibition, organized by the Krakow-based Association of Polish Ferret Breeders, was at the PTS Soko? Hall at 27 Pi?sudskiego Street on Feb. 9.
Although ferrets are becoming more popular in Poland, many Poles know little about them. Some are startled when they see an owner walking with an animal on a leash in park. Ferrets are cute, so some people want to buy one for their children, as they would a rabbit or hamster. But ferrets are meat-eating predators so making a pet out of one requires some special knowledge and understanding.
They also have a musky smell that some people can’t stand.
For all these reasons ferret breeders are trying to educate people about what nice pets the animals can be, but also the challenges they pose.
Ferret owners also want to meet to talk with each other. Organizing a ferret exhibition is a way both to educate non-ferret owners and to give owners a chance to trade information about the animals.
Those who brought ferrets to the exhibition were from all over Poland and from such other countries as Hungary and the Czech Republic.
In addition to the ferret athletic events, there was an interesting photo contest. Photos of ferrets could be entered in one of two formats ? prints or on slides that could be shown on a screen.
But the main attraction was the ferret beauty contests. The categories included juniors, adults, neutered and senior.
The jurors for the beauty contests included Professor Anna Szeleszczuk of Poland, Dr Piotr Borsuk of Poland, Beverly Redden of England, Keith David Redden of England and Przemyslaw Baran of Poland.
The jurors examined each ferret very thoroughly, as jurors in pure-breed dog shows do. In situations where two ferrets both had outstanding qualities, the jurors looked at each twice.
Dr. Piotr Borsuk of the Association of Polish Ferret Breeders gave a lecture during the exhibition on how to breed ferrets.
Those attending the exhibition could buy food, treats and accessories for their ferrets. Three of the companies selling the products ? Ferplast, Bosch and Bungo, the owner of the web site www.fretki.com ? sponsored the awards that owners got for the various contests.
All ferrets that won a contest got a certificate and something good to eat. Beauty contest winners also got medals.