The Leaf Ferret, known as "Rasher" when tame, are a gliding version of the common ferret. The Leaf Ferret only lives in the Brownie Vale and unlike the common version only can be found in trees which gain them their common name. Leaf Ferrets also have the ability to glide between trees which allows them to never touch the ground. The tamed version of this animal is known as a "Rasher" and is used as transportation and as a hunting or war mount.
Appearance. The Leaf Ferret is about 1 fore long but can be smaller depending on how well they are fed. They are totally brown except on the area below the jaw to the chest where it can be anything from white to brown or white with brown spots. During winter they shed their fur to a softer and thicker version of their last coat, this turns them pure white except once again on the throat, where - if they had any colors there before - they will stay. Leaf Ferrets look similar to the common ferret in body shape but have a flap of skin that spans between the shoulder and elbow of the front legs and the hip and knee of the back legs, This flap of skin when retracted is barely visible, but when extended can stretch out in a semi-circular shape and can span to be 1 fore in diameter from one flap to the other. Their claws are also very sharp and are 1 nailsbreadth long on both the back and front. The male is heavier than the female at 1-2 Ods whilst the female is between 0.5-1.5 Ods, though if the female is pregnant this could double or even triple.
The Leaf Ferret is able to climb trees very fast and with ease, but their truly
fascinating ability is that they are capable of gliding from tree to tree. They
do this by jumping out of a tree then extend their skin flaps between their legs
by stretching out their front and back legs. By doing this the Leaf Ferrets can
glide up to 50 peds easily and have been seen to use this ability to attack
birds which are in flight.
This ferret, when trained by members of the Brownie Ferretmaster animal training clan or guild, is called a "Rasher" and is used as a multi-functional mount, draft animal, and means of transport especially between trees. Females have been found to be very good both at transporting goods and is used as the Brownie equivalent of oxen. Although smaller than the male, they are able to carry or pull many times their own weight. Rashers are also trained to move along the ground and can jump up to 3 peds into the air unlike their wild cousins which can only jump 1-2 peds. All Leaf Ferrets also have a habit of only relieving themselves in flight, only Rashers are trained to follow their masters' orders in this respect and releave themselves at special locations.
Territory. This Ferret is only found in the Brownie Vale, a valley closed off from the outside, and filled with a mixed hardwood forest. Each male Leaf Ferret will claim a tree as its own and will mark it with its scent by rubbing its chin and side against the trunk, this scent from then on warns other ferrets of its home. However, females are travelers and never live in the same tree twice in the same day though will stay in the same area.
Habitat/Behaviour. The male Leaf Ferret will live in the same tree basically most of its life only leaving to hunt, though the female will live in numerous trees it is never the same one from day to day. The female will go back to that tree if there is plenty food, also if it is winter or mating season. The exception of this is in Rashers which will live within calling distance of its Brownie masters. Females can be found moving within a small area and can be considered a territory.
Both male and female sleep and live the same way. They will hunt only during the day and will sleep during the night in their tree. They sleep on the branch of the tree though they will also take over bird nests and/or hollows which they prefer. The Leaf Ferret never touches the ground and instead will jump or glide from tree to tree. During winter, the male sleeps in his tree even if it gets very cold whilst the female will do the same but on occasion will stay in the same tree for days even if it has another Leaf Ferret occupant, they will do this to cuddle up and sleep in a bundle to share warmth. The Leaf Ferret also seems to slow down during winter and will sleep much more than in summer.
Diet. During spring and summer, the Leaf Ferret will feast mainly on birds and their eggs, but they will also eat the occasional insect. When hunting birds, Leaf Ferrezs usually try to capture nesting birds but they are also capable of successfully attacking them in mid flight. They will do this by waiting for a bird to fly by the tree they’re in then jumping down/up to the bird and snatching it with its claws and jaw. It will then quickly latch onto the bird with its jaw then release it with its claws and glide into the next tree. This technique is only done by the older Leaf Ferrets but may also end lethal as, if the ferret cannot latch onto the bird in time, the bird stuns the ferret, or if the ferrez can't extend its flaps quickly enough it can fall to its death.
During winter the Leaf Ferret will eat less than in summer but luckily the Leaf Ferret like the common ferret stores food in the trees so that it can come back to retrieve it later if it isn't eaten by other creatures first. The Leaf Ferret will mainly do this with meat, but it also builds a layer of fat during summer and fall to allow it to go longer without food in winter.
Rashers either hunt with their master or within calling distance of their master.
Mating. During spring the male Leaf Ferret emits a strong smelling musk, which smells amazingly nice and attracts females. The male will also emit a loud shrill cry to tell the females of his location. When a male mates with a female they stay partners for life, though the male will quite often have many female partners. Once a female has been attracted to a male, the male will mate very similar to the common ferret but instead of being joined for 6-8 hours will only stay joined for 2 hours. During this time the female might move around the male’s tree. After mating the female will move to a tree she has chosen to have her babies. This tree is the same every year and can sometimes have more than one female. The female will then build a crude nest or will take over a bird’s nest. She will stay in this nest for 1 month only moving away to feed, at the end of this she will give birth to 1-4 pups which she will only leave to feed. The pups will suckle for 2 weeks at the end of this time the mother will bring back live food for them to eat (I.E. birds or insects) 1 month after their birth the mother will quite literally push them out of the nest. After this the young will be taught how to "fly", then the pups will leave the mother and move away.
Usages. The captive version of the Leaf Ferret is known as the "Rasher", which is very common among the Brownies of the Vale. It lives almost exactly the same as their wild cousins with the exception of their diet and mating as many Rashers are desexed and/or matings are arranged by their Brownie masters to breed quality pups. Once their pups are fully grown they are often taken by Ferretmaster clan members for training as mounts and draft animals. Training for the Rashers is very intense and involves danger, sometimes fatal, for both the Rashers and their Brownie trainers. Ferretmaster clan members highly value their unique mounts, and their services to the rest of the Brownies of the Vale are irreplaceable.
Information provided by Quegon