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Amelia Janes <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mon, 21 Aug 2000 11:33:05 -0500
text/plain (36 lines)
Can any of you zoologists  help me?

My husband, Paul , and I were rowing back from our sailboat in the
evening after sunset and encountered a swimming critter that could have
been a weasel, marten, fisher , mink, ferret, stoat or polecat.  But
which one could it have been?

He was big, bigger than a weasel I think--at least three feet from nose
to tail--and very dark with no white or light markings that I could see
(it was dark and he was silhouetted aganist the sunset). He swam
extremely well and climbed a tree that overhung the water and then ran
along the waters edge rather than away from the water. He was not very
afraid of us, in fact we had to sit still in the dory and let him finish
investigating us and the shore line and wait to make sure he left, since
it was so dark in the shadows we wanted to be sure we weren't reaching
out to grab the tree roots on the shore and grab him instead.

I'm thinking it was a fisher since he swam well, but  I am not an expert
of mammmals.  I've read that fishers are the only predator to porcupines
and kill them by simply attacking their face until the porcupine is worn
out. Curious. A lot like Portugese bull fighting?

I get the feeling that  understanding the differences in these groups of
mammals is really diffulcult, they are so similar, especially between
weasels and polecats. I remember that my Tennessee Grandpaw knew a lot
of weasels and polecats.

Amelia Janes--GNSI membership secretary
Wisconsin Cartographers' Guild / Midwest Educational Graphics
6 Lyons Circle
Madison, WI 53704
fax 608-244-3889
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