Okay, maybe the headline is a bit misleading. You see, it is not that “your ferret doesn’t want to run!” as much as it is the fact that your ferret “won’t enjoy running”. Yes, researchers have determined that ferrets do not get the same “runners high” that humans and dogs get when they run.
Now, this leads to a few questions:
-Why did the researchers choose ferrets? Were ordinary house cats so disinterested in running that they didn’t even show up for the study?
-How did researchers measure this? Did the ferrets run on little ferret-sized treadmills or normal human sized ones?
-And finally, would the ferrets have been more comfortable and achieved the runners high if they HAD BEEN wearing shoes? If so, perhaps Nike needs to launch an “Air Ferret” line of shoes.
In all seriousness, I find studies like this fascinating. Running and exercise are so simple and basic that we dot think much about them. When you look more closely however you see that there is an evolutionary impetus at the core. That’s pretty cool. There are quite a few studies and books that discuss the primal roots of running and the related activity of hunting that suggests we used to “run our prey to death”. Apparently, in addition to ferrets, buffalo and other potential food mammals don’t enjoy running either!
If you still reading this post be sure to check out the book “Born to Run“. Even if you are not interested in barefoot running it is worth the read since the book covers several studies on human evolution and the role running played in it. It even has an entire section describing a tiger forced to run on a treadmill in order for researchers to study how animals regulate their body heat. You have to admit that is even better than making ferrets run!
You can learn more, including a far more scientific explanation of “runners high” over at Sweat Science on Runner’s World. But before you go there let us know in the comments if your pet likes to run! Oh, and just because we could… here’s a video of a dog on a treadmill: