View Full Version : What kind of critter is this?

02-19-2006, 01:49 PM
Hi everyone,
I was hiking up in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness (Central Adirondacks) this past weekend and saw very little in the way of wildlife, except for some deer and hare tracks. The only living creature of note was this little guy:


He looked a lot like a common pet ferret but was pure white except for a tuft of black on the end his tail. We saw him in a tree from 30 feet or so, and he hid from us then ran away when we tried to get a better view. Anyway, just wondering what animal this was, as I don't remember seeing one of his kind before.

In case you're curious, a trip report can be found at http://www.vu.union.edu/~outing/previous/peakedmtn.html which includes some photos of a really beautiful sunset from Peaked Mountain.

Pray for snow,

02-19-2006, 03:15 PM
They're great little guys to have around as they eat rodents. Fantastic shot of him. That must have been one of the highlights of the trip.

02-19-2006, 03:17 PM
This link will get you a perfect picture of another little guy like the candid one you caught (Nice camera work - He even looks a little photogenic) :)

White Coat Weasel Pics (http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/animals/weasel.html)

02-19-2006, 03:20 PM
IMO they're kinda like major pests. they eat ALL the trout in an nearby streams, as well as all the domestic cats they can git their claws on! :eek:
edit - killer pic. nice job :D

02-19-2006, 03:28 PM
Saw one of those little buggers while snowboarding Cannon a month ago on the Hardscrabble trail. We had no idea what we were watching scurry along. It all makes sense now, gotta love VFTT. :)

02-19-2006, 05:49 PM
El chupacabra!

02-19-2006, 06:01 PM
Excellent picture! It's called an Ermine, which is a weasel, and it's only white in the winter. Really nice shot! :)

02-19-2006, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the information, guys. I think it's funny that the very tips of their tails never turn white--I wonder what the purpose of that adaptation is.


02-19-2006, 07:14 PM
Thanks for the information, guys. I think it's funny that the very tips of their tails never turn white--I wonder what the purpose of that adaptation is.


Well, Now that I think about it, there is that whole Toilet paper thread..... :D

02-19-2006, 07:34 PM
Is that a poo joke?!! Awwww...

Edit: I can't take credit for that photo, by the way--that would go to my friend Josef--but most of the other photos in the trip report linked to above are mine.

02-19-2006, 07:34 PM
AKA Mustela ermina, the Ermine. see this link


and select "Lady with an Ermine". Da Vinci captured a subject with an Ermine as a pet... probably not the first known instance;

Brown coated above and white underneath in the temperate months, Mustela ermina is a master of disguise.

that is indeed a killler pic! Congrats!!!

My first close encounter with one of these critters , I was sitting in a very vulnerable position in a public restroom in a lodging establishment where I was employed. I had been noticing scratching noises in a recently installed partition wall during late fall renovations, and had voiced my concerns.

Lo and behold, as I sat on the loo, one of these critters broke thru the sheetrock in front of me and sat up looking at me as if to say " what are YOU doing here!" Took very little notice of me while I made myself personable and opened the door, and followed me spookily to an outside exit. It obligingly exited and vanished into a snowbank.

In the out-of-doors, I have seen one in winter white coat on a brown roadside bank, and another in winter whitecoat on the steps to my husband's workshop.

In the late foliage season at Wildcat, we hear occasionally from visitors who spot them from the Gondola, when these little ferret maurauders have changed from Weasel "leaf-litter brown" to Ermine "white" before the snow falls to enable their winter camo.

They are not at all rare or endangered, just so well adapted to their surroundings that they are rarely seen ( at least that is my humble opinion).

congrats again on the kewl sighting and wonderful pic. I have 3 confirmed sightings in 53 years, now you are clued in and aware.


02-21-2006, 08:24 AM
Yes, an ermine. I've only seen one. I was headed up the Glencliff Trail on Moosilauke a fwe years ago. I had a pounding migraine, and the only reason I continued was because I did not want to turn around until I had notified my hiking partners. I stopped and was slouched over my poles, temples pounding and knives poking the backs of my eyes. The little fella crossed about 3 feet in front of me (no more), stopped, looked up at me for a few moments, then continued on. A magical mountain encounter. I had to ask my brother what the heck it was (BTW, I finally met up with my hiking partners at the Carriage Road, so forged on to the summit...)

02-22-2006, 11:35 AM
Thats what that is!!!
We met some friends staying a cabin in Old Forge about a month ago and saw one....it was snowing and blowing like crazy- but he was having a blast in a dumpster....which I am sure is, sadly, not his native habitat.

The things you learn here.....

Thanks, a bunch for the info!

02-22-2006, 05:23 PM
Thanks for the information, guys. I think it's funny that the very tips of their tails never turn white--I wonder what the purpose of that adaptation is.


Hmmm, think about what a hole or pebble in the snow looks like-- a black shadow???

Ermine go after mice, voles, chipmunks and so are tunnel/hole diggers and divers...... all to be seen of an ermine tunnel- diving in a snowbank is the black tip of his tail, which looks like the entrance to the tunnel.

Thanks to the original poster for starting this thread. a great pic to start and lots of fun!


02-22-2006, 05:39 PM
Killer shot! That must have been a real treat! Nice!

02-22-2006, 08:41 PM
This is what I remember of them from my college days:

Picture Link (http://www.science.uva.nl/~robbert/zappa/files/jpg/Weasels_Ripped_My_Flesh.jpg)

Great picture!