consider a canon power shot.
the camera uses common memory. is very rugged, they were reccomended to me by a buddy who is a state trooper. he uses it for evidence collection, it usually rides in his patrol car without any case. needless to say it gets tossed around and survives.
the main reason they/I like it is the ability to take excellent low light pics.
i got a set of lithium rechargeable AA batteries for a small additional cost, well worth the extra money. i only need to recharge them about every 200 shots.
the software that comes with the camera is excellent and allows direct printing and editing.
mine is 2.0 megapixel, the current ones are in the 3 to 4 range. it sells in the 250+/- dollar range.
you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.