Ferrets are regarded as fierce creatures whose demeanour indicates a pent-up aggression towards everything, most of all towards their prey. Whilst this is true of almost all ferrets, there is one honourable exception, the Andalusian or Moorish Ferret.

According to the natural histories of Northern Africa, the Andalusian Ferrets, owned by the Moorish aristocracy, were interbred with members of the weasel family during the 7th and 8th centuries AD and acquired the cunning and intelligent characteristics of these animals. During the following centuries after the Moors settled in Spain, the Andalusian Ferret was influenced by the early forms of flamenco, these sounds being part of its everyday environment. The ferret also noticed how captivated people became when watching the Flamenco dancers and particularly their movements. The ferrets decided to apply these subtle, suggestive moves to their hunting technique.

When the Andalusian Ferret observed a rabbit or rat, it didn’t chase after the creature straightaway. Nor did it keep out of sight. Instead, the ferret moved to a place where it could be seen, but made sure it appeared non-threatening to its potential prey. The ferret then proceeded to move around on its hind legs, moving its front legs in time to a beat known only to the ferret.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided