22 MARCH 1930, Page 17


A strange fatality has just been tracked down by a keeper in a neighbouring estate. For the sake of all concerned the rabbits were being killed off, in what is on the whole the most humane manner—by ferret and gun. In one burrow the ferret was lost one Saturday afternoon ; and further search was not made till Monday, when the hole was dug out. In a blind alley far down, ferret and rabbit were discovered, both dead. The ferret had pulled the rabbit after him and in this way so completely blocked the hole that it died of suffocation—such seemed the natural inference from the position of the two victims. The hunter runs his risk as well as the hunted. There are records of hawks killed in swooping after their prey and of fishing birds throttled by eels. Even stoats have been directly damaged by rabbits defending their young. The ferret is, of course, a singularly delicate animal. It is possible that a certain delicacy in the family has been one cause leading to the total disappearance from England of the once common pole-cat (after which we name the brown ferret).