What animal is this?

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I do not have a picture but this is what my daughters saw. The animal was first seen on our property 4-5 months ago and has not gotten any bigger. It is grey like a raccoon and has a mask like one. It jumps like a squirrel and has a tail like a squirrel. Something got one of our 1/2 grown chickens sleeping in a bush and ate everything but the head, there where teeth marks in the head so I do not know if this is the same animal. It chased a rabbit that lives loose in our yard this morning and gave a good chase. It stopped to look around and held one paw up.

I saw it running away and would say I was seeing a squirrel. We used to live in the city so my girls know a squirrel!

OK I just got a good look at it, and the tail is heavy and as long as the animal and it has a definite white face. It is walking around here in broad day eating my pecans and climbing trees. Lynn

-- Lynn (johnnypfc@yahoo.com), October 12, 2001


Could it be a ferret?

-- Elizabeth (ekfla@aol.com), October 12, 2001.

What state do you live in? How big is it? Is it about the same size as a squirrel, or a racoon? Could it be a wolverine?

-- r.h. in okla. (rhays@sstelco.com), October 12, 2001.

A wolverine would be quite a bit bigger than a squirrel -- encyclopedia says the body without the tail is 26-41 inches long. Does have a white face, but I wonder if the person who suggested a ferret might have been closer to the mark?

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), October 12, 2001.

Depending on the size, a badger?

-- Christina (introibo2000@yahoo.com), October 12, 2001.

A ferret doesn't have a tail like a squirrel, so if you're positive it has a bushy tail like a squirrel, probably not a ferret.

You can see a silhouette of a ferret at: http://www.ferretcentral.org/ You can also look at their photos if you want.

There is also a native, wild ferret, called the black-footed ferret, but they are only in a small area of the country (same regions as prairie dogs) and are fairly rare these days, being on the endangered species list. Here's a website: http://endangered.fws.gov/i/a07.html

I also wonder if it could be some "exotic" that has escaped or been released. I thought of a coatimundi, but they seem to be too large. http://www.belizezoo.org/zoo/zoo/mammals/coa/coa1.html

Maybe something else in the raccoon family? You never know what exotic someone has obtained and then dumped. Check this address for other raccoon relatives: http://www.lioncrusher.com/procyonidae/

-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), October 12, 2001.

Could be a marten (about the size of a cat) or a fisher (a bit larger). Both are members of the weasel family.

-- Tracy Rimmer (trimmer31@hotmail.com), October 12, 2001.

I was thinking Marten too.

-- Jenny (auntjenny6@aol.com), October 12, 2001.

You don't mention what part of the country you're in, but around these parts (Southern Utah) it could be a ringtail cat. They're kinda coon-ish looking but often smaller. Never seen one during the day though.

-- Jorja Hernandez (jorja@color-country.net), October 12, 2001.

There is several varieties of squirrels and if you saw it eating nuts I would bet it is a squirrel and something else got your chicken. We have some squirrels that show up around here once in a while that have white tails. I think a local College brought them in. Why did the rabbit stop and hold up a paw? Was it waving or warning.

-- Mel Kelly - Indiana (melkelly@webtv.net), October 12, 2001.

I would guess you saw a member of the weasel family, they are very vicious for their size, and afraid of nothing!!!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), October 12, 2001.

It has a partial white face around its mouth nose area and is larger than a squirrel but the same shape about 2 feet from head to tail. Definitely not a racoon. We have found pecans with large claw marks in them. They were also biting off limbs in the trees to get the nuts today. We are thinking of the weasel family, its tail was pretty bushy, more than a squirrel. Lynn

-- Lynn (johnnypfc@yahoo.com), October 12, 2001.

Oh yes we live in eastern NC. We had kind od thought a ferrat but it is too large. Lynn

-- Lynn (johnnypfc@yahoo.com), October 12, 2001.

Here is some information on Martens - they have bushy tails, eat critters, as well as nut.


and here is a picture:


So..... was it a marten????

-- Cheryl inKs (cherylmccoy@rocketmail.com), October 12, 2001.

OOOPS! The first link I gave you was the main link for the site with the marten info. Here's the link for the actual marten info page:


I need a nap.....

-- Cheryl in KS (cherylmccoy@rocketmail.com), October 12, 2001.

okay... now I've got the song from Zaboomafoo stuck in my head... "Who could it be, this animal that I did see, can you help me guess this mystery?" AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHH!!!!

-- Cheryl in KS (cherylmccoy@rocketmail.com), October 12, 2001.

Check out these links for pictures. The Fox Squirrel has a very large busy tail too. The ones we have in our area have a more definite looking mask.

http://spot.colorado.edu/~halloran/sq_fox.html http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/wrcf/delmarva.htm http://clab.cecil.cc.md.us/faculty/biology/Chesapeake/squirrel.html

-- Marsha (CaprisMaa@aol.com), October 14, 2001.

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