Feral ferrets causing havoc in Guernsey

  • Video report by ITV Channel's Kate Prout

Wild ferrets are said to be causing serious problems for some islanders in Guernsey at the moment.

A shortage of their favourite food source, rabbits, is resulting in more of them breaking into chicken coops and damaging property.

Geoff Le Gallaz has caught 68 wild ferrets in the last five years and says they can never be eradicated as they are non-native and notoriously difficult to catch.

He said: "Myxomatosis has hit Guernsey really bad, so they are eating rats, mice and chickens instead."

Myxomatosis is a severe disease that affects rabbits and is often fatal. Symptoms include fever, lethargy and inflamed eyes.

It is believed many ferrets have escaped or been deliberately set free by islanders no longer able to handle them.

GSPCA animal shelter manager Steve Byrne said: "When they get out into the wild, if they are not neutered, can breed. We see babies every year [at the shelter].

"A mother can have anything between one and 18 kits, which can cause lots of problems for our wildlife in Guernsey."

The States vet now wants to add ferrets to the pest list - an attempt to call time on their wild ways.