ATLANTIC CITY - Some of the most popular inhabitants of the Atlantic City Aquarium have neither fins, scales nor gills.
What they do have is energy, and a serious case of the cutes.
"Everybody loves them. They are hysterical to watch," Jack Keith, executive director of the Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation, said of Fabio and Farrah, two 4-month old ferrets who have been entertaining fans at the aquarium for the past two months.
The pair aren't the first ferrets to call the aquarium home. The facility's previous ferret died in the spring.
The aquarium waited to see if someone would donate a ferret, but it didn't happen.
So, officials purchased two ferrets - the darker and larger Fabio and the lighter-colored and smaller Farrah.
It is possible to visit the aquarium and not see the ferrets at all. They spend most of the day sleeping, unseen, in a cage in a husbandry section of the aquarium, but come out for a 1 p.m. show. They also are brought out for special events, either in a circular playpen or on leashes, according to Christopher FitzSimmons, the aquarium's education assistant.
"It's always a good reaction. Kids love cute and furry things. Adults ask questions such as, 'Why is a ferret in an aquarium?' We refer them to the kids," said FitzSimmons, who looks after them. "I did miss having the ferrets around."
Ferrets aren't the only land animals at the aquarium.
The aquarium's tropical rainforest exhibit includes such lizards as a gecko, an iguana and a couple of different species of boa snakes. A chinchilla is in a separate exhibit, FitzSimmons said.
The ferrets are easy to get attached to and have the same activity level as a kitten.
Ferrets are easy to take care of in a couple of ways. They eat premade food that is similar to cat or dog food. They are litter box trained like a cat. Ferrets might nibble at someone when they are younger, but FitzSimmons said the aquarium's ferrets are beyond the nibbling stage. Even though the aquarium has a male and female ferret, it doesn't need to worry about being overrun by them because they have been spayed and neutered.
Children who take delight in seeing Fabio and Farrah will have many years to enjoy them, as ferrets typically live for between 7 and 10 years.
Contact Vincent Jackson:
The Ferret Show will be held at 1 p.m. between Saturday and Dec. 31 at the Atlantic City Aquarium, 800 North New Hampshire Ave., Atlantic City. Aquarium admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and older, $4 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and younger. For more information, call 609-348-2880.