And now for something Stoatally different

by Julie Stoodley

About 3 months ago, I was contacted by a friend of ours who said she had been contacted by a young man in Doncaster who had a stoat which he could no longer keep. The animal had apparently been involved in a car accident sometime and had suffered brain damage. I was asked if I would be prepared to go to Doncaster and have a look.

So Ben, my husband, and I left the following day and found the address we had been given. Paul, the person who had looked after the stoat, showed us where the animal was kept which was a very small hutch and we were told that the stoat had not been touched or let out its living quarters for more than 2 years. The animal was obviously very bored and was showing a behavioural problem, running back and forth along the front of the hutch. This, we found out later, was why we had been told the animal had brain damage. I had no hesitation in taking the stoat as I knew I could give it a better life than this.

Initially we called the stoat Stanley but this became a bit of a mouthful so his name was changed to Koko (or Kokostan as June McNicholas calls him).

He now lives in a large outside run which we keep as near to a wild environment as we can. He takes food from my hand every day and is now to a stage where he will sit and let me stroke him. Obviously he canít be let out into the wild but we can at least give him a good quality of life which we try to make varied and interesting. We have no idea how old he is but we will make any time that he has left as near to his wild state as we can. Best of all, the behavioural problems he was showing when we picked him up have now passed.

My background with ferrets has really helped me with Koko as he is so similar. He even sleeps on his back with his legs splayed apart in the sunshine just like my ferrets do.

(First published in NFWS News October 2003)

Sleaford Ferret Rescue