Small critter found behind Thurston County TV sparks fun mystery

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – “Do you know what it is?”

A simple question about a mysterious mammal found behind a TV sparked a fun debate.

Weasel? Ferret? Mink escaped from a fur factory?

Vivian Miller posted the question to the Thurston County, Wa – Just Because Facebook Group  on Monday night. Her parents found the small animal behind there TV. It wasn’t hurt, but seemed stuck. Her parents’ house cats were paying close attention.

From Vivian Miller

“I’m thinking ferret, but it’d be weird to come inside and the neighbors aren’t that close for it to be lost,” Miller said in her post.

Within minutes, the post was loaded with explanations. Many settled on mink, given Miller’s parent’s proximity to wetlands.

Jason Cox of Suburban Landscape Maintenance told Q13 News he was working down the street from the home and volunteered to get the animal out. It appeared the animal was chasing small rodents or was perhaps lured from the nearby wetlands by warmth on a cold day.

“With the colder weather it found its way indoors,” Cox said. “It found itself trapped behind the TV stand.”

Cox removed the critter, which he said had a little bit of white on his body, and stood on his hind legs as Cox approached. He released it on the property near the wetlands.

Cox gets a lot of calls to help with trapped cats, but has never seen this particular kind of animal.

“The cats were pretty intrigued with it,” he said, laughing.

Q13 News emailed pictures of the mammal to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife for help with identification.

The results: A long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata).

“It’s a highly common animal in wetlands to forest lands,” Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Craig Bartlett said.

The long-tailed weasel eats small rodents and birds, and is fairly common throughout Washington state. It captures rodents by entering into their burrows.

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