Dear Readers: What fascinating little creatures ferrets are (we had four of them years ago), and they can make wonderful pets, but they do have unique personalities and behaviors. So, if you're considering having a ferret join your household, a little research is in order.

Ferrets love to play! And if you're going to have one, you might as well have two. They will keep each other busy, and you'll have hours of entertainment watching them.

One of their favorite games is to peer at each other from the ends of a long tube, preparing to run into the tube to see who can reach the other end and who turns around then zooms out of the tube. And you can make free ferret toys by cutting several holes in a couple of paper bags. The ferrets run in the bag and poke out one hole and then another. They have so much fun, and you have fun watching them!

It's important to know that ferrets can be nippers. Since they don't have sharp claws like cats (although they can scratch!), they use their teeth to get what they want. Little bites can be a form of body language, or they'll nibble your foot to get your attention. If they're distressed, hurt or frightened, they will bite harder! But they can be taught to not bite, once you've figured out why it is they're biting.

So, the bottom line on ferrets is, learn as much as you can about these intelligent, energetic pets before you bring them home. — Heloise

Dear Readers: Margaret Williams of Hallowell, Maine, sent a photo of her cat Patches, a large cat trying to stuff himself into a small box. Margaret says: "Every box that comes into the house has to be tried on, regardless of size. You can see she really stuffed herself in this one." — Heloise

Dear Readers: We are still receiving pet names!

Jo Ann Key of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., says: "Our former neighbors used to have a pet rabbit named Bunny Bono."

Pam Robertson, via e-mail, says: "We named our second Maltese dog Ditto, as he looks like the first one we had. When people ask his name and we tell them, they laugh."

Again, thanks to all the readers who sent in a pet name. We enjoyed reading and printing them! — Heloise

Dear Heloise:We recently got a parakeet named Pete. We would pour seed in his dish, but one day I noticed that there still seemed to be a lot of seed in the dish. My husband told me to take the dish outside and blow on it. I did, and all the "seeds" blew away! These were the shells! The poor bird had hardly any food because we thought the dish was full! A lesson learned. — Erma and Pete, Jacksonville, Fla.

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