Keep an eye out for fer­rets near Wondai

South Burnett Times - - NEWS - Michael Nolan michael. nolan @ south­bur­nett­times. com. au

BIOSE­CU­RITY Queens­land wants Wondai res­i­dents to be on the look­out for fer­rets after two were found in the re­cent months.

A spokes­woman from the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries said they didn’t know how the fer­rets made it into area.

“We sus­pect that they were il­le­gally- kept pets that ei­ther es­caped or were dumped,” the spokes­woman said.

“Biose­cu­rity Queens­land and the South Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil are con­duct­ing op­er­a­tions to con­firm if there are any more fer­rets that may have been dumped or es­caped in the area.

“We are also con­duct­ing aware­ness ac­tiv­i­ties in the Wondai town­ship in case lo­cal res­i­dents en­counter any other fer­rets at large in the area.”

Biose­cu­rity Queens­land does not be­lieve that fer­rets are es­tab­lished in the area, as both of the fer­rets de­tected were tame.

If any Wondai res­i­dents come across a fer­ret they must re­port the sight­ing to Biose­cu­rity Queens­land im­me­di­ately.

“We want to re­mind peo­ple that the fer­ret is a pro­hib­ited in­va­sive an­i­mal un­der the Biose­cu­rity Act 2014. This means they must not be kept, moved, fed, given away or sold with­out a per­mit.”

Both an­i­mals were found on pri­vate prop­erty.

“Fer­rets can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on na­tive wildlife and do­mes­tic an­i­mals, par­tic­u­larly poul­try, and can also be a vec­tor for a num­ber of se­ri­ous dis­eases,” the spokes­woman said.

Fer­rets are a small, car­niv­o­rous mam­mal with body 20– 45cm long, tail 7– 15cm long and can weight up to 2.7kg.

Their body is long and slinky and their legs are short.

They like to live in forested and semi- forested ar­eas near wa­ter sources, in­clud­ing grass­land, scrub, riverbeds and pas­ture.

Fer­rets don’t mind bunk­ing down in farm­land, wide hedge banks, marshes, rub­bish tip ur­ban ar­eas.

While they look like rab­bits, they don’t breed like them.

They’ll have one lit­ter a year, av­er­ag­ing about eight kits, and they live for about four year in the wild.

As for diet, they’ll eat small na­tive an­i­mals in­clud­ing birds and mar­su­pi­als.

They’re fond of eggs and will crawl into a nest to snack on un­born chicks.

If you see a fer­ret, phone the South Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil on 4189 9100 or Biose­cu­rity Queens­land on 13 25 23.

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