Ferret races draw record crowds at the Yorkshire Dales Pub
A pub in the Yorkshire Dales was packed for a night of what might be the most northerly of sports – ferret racing.
Held at The Craven Arms in Appletreewick, North Yorkshire, the annual event attracts both a crowd and quite a pungent aroma.
The ferrets race in threes through specially designed tubes, the first one to make it around the track is declared the winner.
Wagers can be placed with all proceeds going to the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue.
Ted Mason is the head bookmaker and a local fur running legend.
He’s standing next to the racing arena with a sign that says “BetTed.”
“It’s been around for 10 years and we have an event every February. If we’re lucky we’ll make around £300-400, which isn’t bad, is it?”
Dave Barrett from Storiths brought four of his ferrets named White, Brown, Bib and Bernard.
“To be honest I think some people practiced for tonight,” he laughed.
When asked if any of his won, he replied, “I can’t possibly say!”
Penny Horsburgh from Sutton-in-Craven had two ferrets, Ragnar and Rollo, in the races.
“I hope one of them wins,” she said. “We named them after Vikings so we’re hoping they’re as tough as their names suggest, we’ll see.”
“We got them as kits last year, so they’re only about eight months old. They are babies, this is their first ferret race.
“We heard about it through friends and thought why not try it?”
A spokesman for The Craven Arms said the event, held at their Cruck Barn, drew the largest crowd in its history, with about 200 in attendance.
According to the RSPCA, ferrets are carnivores whose closest ancestor is the European polecat.
Their species name, mustela putorius furo, translates to “stinky angry thief,” and they are known for their unusual musky odor.
They are intelligent and need mental and physical stimulation and can live up to 12 years.