Meet the Ferret Who Has Climbed 11 of Colorado's Highest Mountains


Lifestyle | March 17, 2020

There are pets for all types of personalities. If you are the adventurous type, you could find a dog willing to go out on great adventures with you. You could also find a dog who likes lazing about on the couch with you. Most cats would likely fall in the lazy category, but even with cats there is diversity in personalities.

Sometimes you can just tell what kind of hijinx a pet likes to get into just by looking at them. Take a pug for example. They might think they are adventurous, but they don't want anything more than to hang out on the couch. As for a pet ostrich, you might want to keep them outside and active.

An ostrich may sound like a weird pet, but do you want to know an even weirder pet? A ferret. Believe it or not, those little rodents make popular pets (where they are legal), and love to play tricks on their owners. The ferret in this story is quite unusual in that it likes to climb mountains.

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Lauren Smith Adopted Oliver, the Ferret

Lauren Smith is a paramedic who wanted a pet one day, but she didn't think it would be a good idea to get a cat or a dog since her work days sometimes stretched past twelve hours. In 2015 she decided to make an impulse purchase and get a ferret as her new pet, not knowing much about them at the time. That ended up leading to a big surprise for Lauren Smith.

When she first got her new ferret friend, Oliver, all she knew was how long they slept. She told TODAY, “Somebody mentioned that ferrets sleep 18-20 hours a day, and I was like, ‘That's perfect.'” As it turns out, young ferrets are incredibly energetic when they aren't sleeping, so even though Oliver may sleep 18-20 hours a day, when not sleeping he would go wild.

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Oliver Has Climbed 11 of Colorado's “Fourteeners”

Oliver would run into walls and slam his head into the couch in attempts to burrow into it. Lauren Smith recalled, “He destroyed my couch and I was like, ‘I've got to do something to get this energy out of this little critter.'” That gave her the idea to take him outdoors. At first she took him to Caprock Canyons State Park. She put him in a harness which she had trained him to wear. He absolutely loved it, other than a brief moment when an ant bit him.

They eventually moved to Colorado where Oliver has since climbed 11 of Colorado's “fourteeners.” Those are mountains that are higher than 14,000 feet. As well as his Colorado mountain climbing adventures, he has also been to eight national parks, including Grand Teto National Park and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

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Beware Before You Get a Ferret

Oliver needs a break sometimes, so if it's hot he'll get carried in her backpack, and if it's cold, he'll hide in the hood of her jacket. Lauren Smith said, “He weighs about as much as a burrito so he's super light to carry.” Oliver will sometimes even sneak into the hoods of passersby. “It's pretty funny. I'm like, ‘Oh sorry -- he's looking for a nap!”

Lauren Smith posts their adventures on Instagram where they also go hiking and even kayakiing. “We did a test in the bathtub and he did fine. He was able to float for a good 10 minutes without any help. He didn't really need me.” Even though Oliver seems fun, Smith does want to warn others from getting one. They can be hard to take care of when they are young.

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