Meet Jesse James, the "unferrgettable" hiking ferret who loves to hit the trails in Colorado with his owner Lauren Smith. 

Jesse James, also known as hikingferret on Instagram, loves joining in on adventures, including at Garden of the Gods and in the high country of Herman Gulch, nestled at 12,102 feet. He's also visited the iconic Breckenridge troll, Isak Heartstone.

The account hikingferret may sound familiar, as it's the same account that was used for for Oliver, another Insta-famous hiking ferret with the same owners that passed away last year.

"Oliver died of adrenal disease, a fairly common disease in ferrets," Lauren explained. "He had an implant to help, but unfortunately it was too late. It extended his life by several months though, which I was incredibly grateful for."

While ferrets snooze anywhere between 18 to 22 hours a day, Jesse James is a "spunky, playful, and curious" five-month-old ferret who has a ton of energy. He enjoys playing with his stuffed animals and loves hiding them. 

"He is named after the infamous bandit since ferrets are notorious little thieves," Lauren said.

Jesse is also a natural-born adventurer, immediately taking to his harness and working his way up to hiking about half a mile on the trail.

"My first step to introducing Jesse to hiking was to get him acclimated to the harness. He took to it no problem and basically forgot he had it on," said Lauren. "I was shocked, as it took months for me to get Oliver to the same place." 

Lauren adopted Jesse from a pet shop in Aurora. Due to the the fact that ferrets are being used to test vaccines for COVID-19, finding a ferret as a pet was challenging task. 

"Part of what makes a ferret a good hiking partner is that if they tucker out you can just carry them and they don't weigh very much," Lauren added.

Their summer bucket list includes kayaking across several alpine lakes in the San Juan Mountains. Beyond that, the pair also plans to make their way to Utah, exploring St. George, Lake Powell, and the San Rafael Swell, as well as backpacking the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.


Get OutThere

Signup today for free and be the first to get notified on new updates.

(1) comment

Steve B/Colorado

Saw someone hiking with a ferret, in a little chest pouch, this past Sunday in JeffCo's Mount Falcon Park. The couple assured me that it isn't a black footed ferret.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.