A FEROCIOUS ferret attacked a 10-month-old baby girl as she was being pushed in her pram in Burnley.
The foot-long animal ran up and jumped into Lola-Mae Knowles' pram and bit her finger.
Her frantic mum Chloe Knowles, 21, shouted for help and two firefighters, who were driving past, managed to get it off her.
The youngster was taken to Burnley General Hospital to have the puncture wounds in her figure checked out.
Doctors X-rayed her hand to check the animal had not caused damage to the finger bone. They bandaged her hand and gave her anti-biotics to prevent infection.
Lola-Mae’s mum Chloe, of Barden Lane, Burnley, praised fire safety officers Faz Patel and Pete Harvey for their quick-thinking.
She said: "I can’t thank the fireman enough for stopping. Without them I am sure it could have killed her.
“This is not something you expect to happen every day. I was just walking to my mum’s house in Windermere Avenue when it popped out of the bush.
“I didn’t know what it was as I haven’t seen a ferret before, but then it jumped into Lola’s pram.
“I honestly didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to make it more angry or cause even more damage by pulling it off. It had clamped itself on to Lola’s finger.
“She was just screaming in pain.
“I froze. All I could do was shout and plead for help from the people in the houses watching me, but no one came out to help.”
Firefighter Pete Harvey said: “One minute I was driving and the next Faz was telling me to pull over as something wasn’t right.
“We jumped out of the car and saw the light brown, minky coloured ferret clamped onto the baby’s finger.
“Faz managed to kick it off and then I tried to get it away from the pram by kicking it away.
“I think it must have been wild, it was ferocious.
"We spent about 25 minutes fighting to keep away. But it just kept coming back for more.
"It had hard sharp teeth and glaring eyes. It was doing everything it could to get passed me and Faz and back to the baby.
“All I can say is that it must have been hungry as it didn’t want to give up without a fight.”
Eventually, the animal ran off towards Barden Lane following the attack at 2.30pm on Wednesday.
Teaching assistant Chloe, a former pupil at Bowland High School, in Clitheroe, believes it could be an escaped pet.
She said: “I hope it was someone’s pet and not a wild animal. That would be a really scary thought.
"I already feel nervous about going out alone with Lola-Mae.
"I can’t remember for sure if it was wearing a collar but I am pretty certain it was. There are also rumours that someone living in Windermere Avenue builds ferret cages, maybe it belongs to them?
“I just hope it gets caught because it was truly terrifying.”
Steve Carpenter, deputy manager at the Altham RSPCA Centre said: “It sounds to me as this little girl has had a very lucky escape. Everyone knows ferrets have razor sharp teeth and that they like
to cling on.
“Ferrets are domesticated animals and not wild animals so this one has been either left behind or it has escaped from its owner.
“I would urge anyone who spots a ferret to contact their local RSPCA inspector so it can be collected.”