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Three Pet Ferrets Ate a Month-Old Baby's Nose Outside Philadelphia

Are ferret people out of control, or were these just shitty parents?

Photo via Flickr user poppy

Last Thursday, three pet ferrets escaped from a cloth cage and ate a month-old baby's nose, along with part of her cheek, while her mother was upstairs.

Police officers investigating the attack in a small community just outside Philadelphia say they've already lost sleep over it.

"The ferrets ran when mom came down," Darby Borough Police Chief Robert Smythe told the Delaware County Daily Times. Smythe added that the scene was the worst he's witnessed in 45 years, and that the child's face was full of holes.


Smythe wants charges pressed against the parents. Four other siblings have been removed from the home and are staying with relatives while Children and Youth Services and the Department of Welfare conduct a probe over safety concerns.

The case raises the question of whether a person is legally liable for a freak accident involving their unruly pets. Authorities reportedly found more ferret and cat food in the house than baby food.

Of course, ferret people are definitely a thing, even if they're often dismissed as weirdos. It takes a special kind of person to invite a musky, elongated rat to live in their home, but a spokesperson at the Darby Borough PD told me the Chief couldn't provide any more details at this time, leaving it unclear if the parents subscribe to the tenets of the ferret life.

In any case, this isn't the first time a ferret has partially consumed a baby. Back in 2011, a mother in Missouri awoke to her baby crying. When she saw her ferret had eaten several of her four-month-old's fingers, the father threw it across the room and killed it. "If you have a baby or children, if you have animals, I would assume you want to educate yourself on that animal," Grain Valley Police Chief Aaron Ambrose told CNN at the time. "Are they good around kids? Hopefully, people will take a general look at this and see what's the lesson."

For what it's worth, the American Ferret Association says the creatures are "curious" carnivores but "will not gorge themselves simply because food is available."

In the Missouri case, the parents pleaded guilty to second-degree child endangerment after cell phone records showed neither was at home when their baby was being eaten. Prosecutors also proved the ferret had bitten the child in the past.

The precise nature of the parents' alleged negligence in the Pennsylvania case is still being investigated.

"The parents, I believe, have problems," Scythe told the local paper in Delaware County. "They can't take care of these kids."

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