No standard definition exists but generally furries are people who have a fascination with anthropomorphic animals. These are animals that are given human traits, like walking and talking. They can be anything from cartoons characters like Bugs Bunny to computer game personalities like Pokemon.There's more:
The scene has its own art, animation, comic books and literature, but activities are largely conducted online - where furries adopt "fursonas" for role playing.
But for some it is about meeting other furries in person. Groups around the world meet regularly and there are conventions in the US, UK, Germany, Mexico, France, Russia and Brazil.
The BBC takes it all terribly seriously - and look out for "Species Identity Disorder" in the comments - but I was reminded of a Christmas early in the 1970s. I was given a Monty Python LP and it contained the sketch "The Mouse Problem":
But, inevitably perhaps, there's a sexual element too. In a recent court case in the UK, two men who met on a furry website, and shared sexual role-playing fantasies, were convicted of plotting to kill one of the pair's adoptive parents.
Christopher Monks, from Lancashire, and Shaun Skarnes, from Cheshire, were found guilty of meticulously preparing the killings via the internet. They are currently awaiting sentence.
Furries will not thank the pair for casting their hobby in a negative light, and tend to argue the sexual side is hugely overplayed.
Watch the rest for yourself...
Linkman Yes. The Mouse Problem. This week 'The World Around Us' looks at the growing social phenomenon of Mice and Men. What makes a man want to be a mouse.
Interviewer, Harold Voice, sitting facing a confessor. The confessor is badly lit and is turned away from camera.
Man (very slowly and painfully) Well it's not a question of wanting to be a mouse... it just sort of happens to you. All of a sudden you realize... that's what you want to be.
Interviewer And when did you first notice these... shall we say... tendencies?
Man Well... I was about seventeen and some mates and me went to a party, and, er... we had quite a lot to drink... and then some of the fellows there ... started handing ... cheese around ... and well just out of curiosity I tried a bit ... and well that was that.
Interviewer And what else did these fellows do?
Man Well some of them started dressing up as mice a bit ... and then when they'd got the costumes on they started ... squeaking.
Interviewer Yes. And was that all?
Man That was all.
Interviewer And what was your reaction to this?
Man Well I was shocked. But, er... gradually I came to feel that I was more at ease ... with other mice.