Ferrets in Southern Ontario

by Julie Dennis
(Dundas, Ontario, Canada)



We live just outside of Hamilton, Ontario, and we live across from a creek and very close to a swampy area and grassland.

The other night at about midnight, my husband saw something that looked like a wild ferret running down the street.

Is this possible? What could it have been?

How interesting! I wonder if what your husband saw could have been a River Otter?

I also researched and figure that what your husband might have seen was either, a Weasel, Mink or Fisher, which typically don't live in Southern Ontario as they are more likely to be found in Northern Ontario.

Or, it could have been a pet Ferret which had been released or had escaped from captivity.

I wonder if any of our readers have seen this animal, or something similar, in the Hamilton area?

Information on The Weasel Family (Mustelidae)


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Jul 15, 2017
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Ferret? Weasel?
by: Anonymous

Just spotted a pure white weasel? Ferret? in my backyard (London Ont). It is July so what could it be? It ran into the woods at the back of my property.

Jun 28, 2017
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Ferret
by: Don

I live a couple hundred yards from Twenty Mile Creek. Two days ago my dogs started going nuts around my BBQ. I pulled it out and there was a baby Possum underneath. Tonight as I was sitting in the living room the dogs started to get a little antsy, so I let them out and again they headed straight for my BBQ. I assumed the Possum was back so I lifted the BBQ lid and peered with my flashlight through the mesh panel on the BBQ cover to see a whitish face looking back at me. I looked through many pictures of mink, weasel and fisher and the only picture that matched what I saw was a cinnamon coloured ferret. I've lived in the area for most of my 60 years and I've never encountered a ferret. I'm afraid my dogs have become hunters now.

Mar 28, 2017
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Ferret sighting
by: Sharon

About two years ago I was waiting for a bus in Burlington and I definitely saw a ferret or weasel in broad daylight. He crossed the street with what looked like another smaller weasel in its teeth, or its lunch? But I am positive it was not an otter or muskrat or mink.

Nov 02, 2016
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Food locker
by: Anonymous

Along lake with rock break walls, perfect food locker for they hide rotten food, and it can become very foul.

Sep 25, 2016
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Mink
by: Anonymous

I was just looking down at the creek in the middle of Dundas and there it was, playing on the rocks. I thought that it was a Ferret. So sleek, it was wet, dark fur, long skinny tail, narrow face, and long sleek body. As soon as I took my eyes off of him to get my cell to take a picture he was gone. I checked pictures when I got home and it was a MINK that I saw. Now I have seen an adult Beaver, baby beaver and a Mink, all in a short distance of one another on Spencer Creek.

Aug 23, 2016
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Mink sighting in Mississauga
by: Anonymous

Saw a lovely dark Mink today while walking along the creek. Surprised me. It was swimming across the creek so I stopped and watched it scampering over all the rocks, weaving in and out. It came within 4 feet of me. Stopped and raised up on its hind legs, sniffing the air and then scampered off in the slinky way a mink's body moves. I've reviewed all the images online for muskrats, weasels, ferrets, Stoats and the like and this was definitely a Mink. What a thrill!


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Aug 04, 2016
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Weasel in Hamilton
by: Anonymous

We spotted a Weasel running from a corn field just south of Rymal Road in Hamilton, never in my 60 years have I seen one in the City.

Jan 08, 2016
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Mink in Wellington PEC
by: Anonymous

Yesterday, sitting watching waterfowl from Wellington Beach, overlooking towards the back of Sandbanks Bar & Grill we watched what appeared to be a black Mink, on the ice, in the water and then disappear under the boathouse.

Dec 27, 2015
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Read
by: Anonymous

It was a weasel.. they can turn white in our area in winter.

Dec 01, 2015
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Ferrets?
by: Tricia

Just had two in my yard, fighting to death, for sure. I shot one and the other dragged it away. Live in West Grey (south of Owen Sound), not rural ... right in town of Durham. They were all brown, no white (one had lighter belly) and I am only assuming they are ferrets.

Nov 24, 2015
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Mink SW of London
by: Anonymous

This morning I got the chance to watch a Mink in our back yard for over 1/2 hour, hunting repeatedly along the shoreline of a little pond & island. There was enough ice on the pond to support his weight, and more than once he dove in water at the shoreline, right where there are muskrat runs. I have never seen one before and it was amazing to watch him, had no idea we had them here on our farm.

Sep 27, 2015
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Mink
by: Anonymous

I have been periodically observing solitary Mink around my home in Kitchener for three years. I back onto a bush/wet area with small mammals. Today a young Mink came up under my lawn chair, sniffed around and ran back into the bush. I am sure it was hunting for the Chipmunks that frequent my yard for peanuts.

Sep 22, 2015
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Weasels?
by: Froome

Today I watched two large Weasel / Otter looking animals run, play and roll outside a London, Ontario, industrial plant. When they realized I was watching, they ran into the local stream. They were definitely NOT Muskrats and too big to be Fishers. I was quite surprised as I have never seen this before. I pride myself on knowing the nature of Ontario quite well. hmmmm



Sep 11, 2015
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Black Mink sighting
by: Anonymous

I saw one while on a golf course in Fort Erie, Ontario. Beautiful animal, but never have seen one before in this area.

Sep 07, 2015
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Weasel
by: Andries

Sunday, September 6, having coffee in the backyard in the Bluffs area of Scarborough. Saw what seemed to be a weasel/ferret chasing a rat. Never saw a weasel here before! Especially one chasing a rat. I pulled my bare feet up onto the chair!

Sep 04, 2015
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Markham ferret sighting
by: Anonymous

My guess would be a Ferret. Took me by surprise as I hadn't ever heard of any sightings in my area. Until I read this site just now, I thought it had to be an escaped pet. Medium brown, silky coat, darted about like a chipmunk until the hose scared it under the fence. If it reduces the field mouse population, that's okay with me. Hope it leaves the chipmunks alone, though.


Aug 27, 2015
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Black Weasle Port Maitland
by: Anonymous

Does it kill cats?

Aug 22, 2015
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Weasels
by: Anonymous

I live in King Township. On Saturday I was sitting on my deck and the door to my kitchen beside me was open, suddenly a weasel came around the corner of my farm house and jumped up on my door step. I've lived here in Ontario for 65 years and never seen this type of weasel before. It wasn't afraid of me! it was about 2 feet long but the difference from other weasels that I've seen before was that it was a blonde-ish orange colour, so I yelled at it and IT RAN AWAY. Does anyone know what it was?


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Aug 09, 2015
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Port Colborne
by: Anonymous

Sitting in my backyard today, I heard some rustling in my blue box in the garage, and out came a weasel, ferret creature. Not sure what is was. Didn't seem too startled when I got a little closer. Just went under the fence on its way.

Aug 03, 2015
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Black Mink
by: Anonymous

Saw what looked just like black mink last week in Lions Valley Park in Oakville, then today in our backyard (Oakville) saw a brown ferret/mink like animal. Lived here for 20 years and never seen them before!!!

Jul 26, 2015
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Weasel Joshua Creek Oakville
by: Anonymous

Just saw two today that looked like babies in my backyard. I'm not that close to water though so this is strange. This is a first sighting but with construction in and around the North side of Dundas maybe they are being pushed this way.....

Jul 24, 2015
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Mink near Ancaster
by: Anonymous

I work in an office just outside of Ancaster and managed to get a photo (with my phone so not good quality) of a mink as it was hunting around the drainage ditch that runs past our building to a pond way back behind our building. Now I keep my eye out for the little critter,

Jul 10, 2015
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Mink sighting Lake Ontario
by: Krista

I just saw what at first seemed to be a large, long, black squirrel at the Port Credit shoreline. When I got closer, I saw it was not a squirrel as it ran away and disappeared into the water. I realize now that it was a mink after seeing this video of a mink chasing a fish in Lake Ontario. It's great to see animals like that flourishing in once polluted waters! Mink video

Jul 04, 2015
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Lost Ferret
by: Kathy Gallant

My ferret got out a few nights ago in the Guelph area, if any one sees it please message me on Facebook or call me 226 343 9565 she's a black and brown ferret

Jul 03, 2015
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Mink or ferret
by: Syd

Joshua creek area.
This afternoon a mink or ferret walked in my back yard and into ravine. First time seeing this in our yard. It was brown/black in color and about 18 to 24 inches in length.

Jun 15, 2015
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Weasel/ferret/mink?
by: Randy Holtz

Seen one by my picnic table this mornin' while I'm readin' my paper, thought, that's cool, black, length of a ferret. What cheesed me off, was just a few minutes later, it came back, with a chipmunk I've practicaly tamed in my yard, in its mouth. Hard to get chipmunks in this area, and now this bugger's gonna catch all the tame (sorta) easygoin' animals? Lived here in Crystal Beach for 3 decades, yeah, nature's nice, but, hey, don't get that ballsy whatever animal you are!

Jun 13, 2015
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Sighting in Ancaster
by: Anonymous

I just saw a similar animal run across my back yard. I'm less then 1 km from a ravine. It disappeared in some shrubs, then crossed back with a chipmunk in its mouth 5 min. later. We have a small pond and have had fish disappear this past week. I'm wondering if this is the culprit? The animal was dark brown and maybe 18" long.

May 21, 2015
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Mink in my backyard
by: Bill

Bronte south of Lakeshore, I have seen one twice in the last two days. May 21 2015.

May 09, 2015
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Baby ferret type animal
by: Anonymous

I was sitting in my backyard in Waterdown, Ontario, middle of the day and a what looked like a baby ferret walked by me with a field mouse in its mouth. I got a very good look at it and the Ferret-looking animal was no bigger than 6 inches in length.

May 05, 2015
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weasel
by: Anonymous

I too, saw a weasel/mink/ or ferret just yesterday in my backyard. doing some work on our deck and thought it was a chipmunk but no, it came right up to my shoe looked around and was gone. Never have seen these little guys before in yard. We are in Bolton, Ontario.

May 03, 2015
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Least weasel in Oakville...I think
by: Anonymous

I thought I had a ferret in my tool shed at the back of my yard but after doing a little research I think it is a Least Weasel as it is brown with a white under belly. It appears to eat a lot of mice from the remains I found in it's nest while cleaning the shed. I built the shed and I am a terrible carpenter so there are a tonne of ways for mice and weasels alike to get in.


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Apr 22, 2015
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Ferret
by: Anonymous

I live along a wooded area in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and just had a pure black ferret-like animal walk along the back fence!

Apr 07, 2015
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White Ferret
by: Earl

I live in Plainfield, Ontario, and was woken at 5 am by a white ferret on my front porch having a snack in my bag of garbage. Was quite surprised to see that indeed. Took awhile to scare it away as it didn't seem to be too afraid of me. Hope it doesn't keep hanging around. Beautiful looking animal though, looks like something from a pet store.

Mar 20, 2015
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Black Mink
by: Anonymous

I saw a black mink-like creature popping in and out of a small water ditch system by the side of the road on Highway 8 near Glover Road in Stoney Creek/Winona, Ontario. It completely took me off guard, but made me smile.

Mar 03, 2015
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Ferret-like animal
by: Anonymous

I live across the river from Springbank Park in London Ontario. Early this morning I saw a Ferret-like animal running down my driveway, across the road to my neighbours front yard. My neighbours house backs onto the Thames River.

Oct 10, 2014
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Weasel?
by: Wayne

I am currently visiting Oakville, Ontario, at the moment. Today I was at the lake, near the wall with the light at the end. I saw a little creature that looked like a weasel come out of the water and sit on a rock. I took out my phone and filmed him for a time until he dove back into the water only to resurface a few rocks away where he then scampered into the many rocks of the wall. What do you think this creature was?

Sep 30, 2014
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Mink in Mississauga
by: Anonymous

I discovered a ferret-looking animal in the backyard tonight which, after looking at pictures, seems to resemble a Mink. We live in Lorne Park in a very treed but we'll developed area. Wish I could have snapped a pic.

Aug 27, 2014
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Hamilton, Ontario
by: Anonymous

A ferret / mink / weasel walked calmly in front of me and disappeared into the bushes and trees beside the lake on the trail at Bayfront Park / Princess Point in Hamilton a couple of months ago. I was awestruck. Never thought I would see one in my lifetime.

Aug 24, 2014
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Ferret on the Thames
by: Anonymous

I live on the Thames River in London, Ontario, just opposite the rowing club near Springbank. This morning a ferret looking animal went running right across my patio. We've lived here almost 8 years and this is the first one I've seen. Must be the same one!!

Aug 13, 2014
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Ferret in London, Ontario
by: Anonymous

Last night around 10:00 pm we saw a Ferret running across our lawn. We live backing onto Thames river.

Jul 03, 2014
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Wild ferret?
by: Madonna S.

I live in Oakville on Sixteen Mile Creek. I thought I saw a ferret in my backyard. After searching through photos I'm pretty sure what I saw was a Mink. I've never seen one before and thought it was a ferret. I'll snap a photo if I see it again to send. Maybe someone could tell me for sure if that's what I saw

Jun 27, 2014
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Mink in Ancaster
by: Vic MacBournie

We live near the Dundas Valley Conservation area and my wife saw a mink cross the road and disappear into a neighbour's very wild garden. Great to have such an abundance of wildlife around. And for the person who said his cat killed a mink and said "Oh well, that's nature". Ah, no, that's NOT nature. That's a domestic animal killing nature. Keep your cat inside.

May 17, 2014
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Possible Mink sighting
by: Anonymous

I live in Fruitland, Ontario and actually on Fruitland Road a couple of nights ago, I was driving up Fruitland and a black mink-like animal ran across the road. I have a creek and marsh-like area behind my home. We also have muskrat living along our creek. I hope the HCA keeps this area fully protected.

Mar 22, 2014
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Check in area for Mink Ranches
by: kinger

I think for the most part what you are seeing is escaped Mink from a mink ranch. They will get larger and all the colours of ferrets when in captivity, however they are not! Not friendly,and really like fish...

Feb 25, 2014
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Is it a white wild ferret?
by: Anonymous

Today we saw what looks like a wild white ferret in our backyard eating a dead rabbit. He is perfectly white but has a bit of a light brown tip on his tail. The tail is similar in size to a red squirrel's tail. The head has the same look as a very large mouse with black eyes. The animal is about the size of a black squirrel but less bushy hair and a rather slinky body. It looks strong and moves really fast. Has anyone seen something like this? We are in Elginburg just north of Kingston and have never seen anything like this.

Jan 28, 2014
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Wild Ferrets
by: Anonymous

I live in Cobourg, Ontario and I have sighted at least 3 Wild Ferrets in 3 different locations all being beside the Lake in the big chunks of rocks. One location was here in Cobourg down at the light house, the other location was down from my house where there is a public access to the Lake, I seen one there and I had seen one at Wicklow Beach, just east of Cobourg. I thought I was going crazy seeing all these ferrets everywhere until I read this post and it validates my sightings. I think we now have Wild Ferrets running around.

Sep 21, 2013
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Mink
by: Dgc

I live in Oakville along Sixteen Mile Creek. I have a Mink that comes in my backyard often. I saw him chase a rat into my pool. He kept circling the pool trying to catch the rat. My daughter scared the mink and saved the rat! Not my idea!

Sep 16, 2013
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Road kill Ferret in Oshawa
by: Anonymous

On the way to the Go station this morning driving along Bloor, there was a road kill black and white ferret in the north gutter, right somewhere between the intersection at the trailer shop and the best western.

I'm guessing this must have been an escaped pet?

Aug 04, 2013
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Ferret
by: fred

At Lakeview Park in Oshawa, Ontario, I saw what I thought was a baby black squirrel, but it wasn't walking like one. I thought it might be hurt, but when I got close it was a black ferret. It ran into the bushes. It's the first time I have seen one in the park.

Jun 17, 2013
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Ferrets in Prince Edward Dounty
by: Christine

I saw what I think was a baby ferret or weasel, long, narow, brown on top, white on bottom, about the size of a chipmunk....it ran across the road, turned around and ran back to the ditch where I saw four others....a car went by and they disappeared.....this was in the Bloomfield / Wellington area of Prince Edward County.

May 09, 2013
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Ferret?
by: Busy_Dad

At about 6:00pm today I saw what looked like a ferret run up to the pond in front of my house with the typical slinky movement. It jumped into the pond and then quickly climbed out and skipped along the edge of the pond. It was medium brown, about 20 inches long with a long nose, short legs and a slim body. I'm in Caledon and do have muskrats in the pond occasionally.

I wonder if it was a Weasle or an Otter?

Mar 28, 2013
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Mink (possibly) seen in Ancaster
by: Anonymous

While driving to work this morning at 8:30, something ran across Sulphur Springs Rd (near Wilson) in front of may car. My first thought was a Mink, then I wondered about a dark ferret. It was a very dark brown colour. I couldn't see any other markings.

Mar 15, 2013
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Stouffville / Ubxridge area
by: Anonymous

Stouffville, Ontario - have seen a white looking Ferret come out from under the Hot Tub, all white. Is this a Ferret? And are they wild? Seems healthy. We have no ponds, lakes or streams here.

Mar 06, 2013
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Sighting in Guelph ON
by: Anonymous

I live in Guelph, Ontario, and came across this while doing a Google search to find out what "wild ferret" thing just ran across my backyard. I Google image searched a Weasel first and I'm not sure that was it...it didn't look quite the same. I also live near a swamp, forest, creek and pond.
Just Google image searched Mink and without a doubt this is what I saw. I got a very close, calm and somewhat long look through my wall to wall window.

Mar 05, 2013
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Weasel or ferret?
by: Anonymous

I live on the Hamilton mountain and back onto a pathway/park along the Lincoln Alexander Parkway. Last night March 4th 2013 I nearly ran something over on my street that at first I thought was a rat. I've seen my fair share of rats as they plentiful at my work (I work in a factory by the lake) and the body on this creature seemed too long and slinky. It was brown or grayish/black in colour although it ran by too quick to tell for sure. I'm guessing it's a weasel or somebody's ferret.

Feb 28, 2013
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Mink in Hamilton?
by: Julie Dennis

Really a Mink? I didn't think they lived in the Hamilton area.
I have seen Muskrats down at the marshy end of Spencer Creek in Dundas.
But my husband says what he saw was not a muskrat, so perhaps a Mink.
Neither of us has seen anything like it since the first sighting.

Feb 23, 2013
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Mink
by: Pete and Dennis

My partner and myself also saw what looked to be a Mink, all black along Sulfur Creek in Ancaster in the spring of 2012. It was a glorious sight to see.

Feb 19, 2013
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Wild Ferrets
by: Anonymous

What you are all seeing is most likely a Muskrat or Mink they look like Ferrets as they are from the Weasel family, only they are wild creatures and not tame household pets.

Jan 23, 2013
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Ferret?
by: Anonymous

Most of what people saw are probably mink. Ferrets would have had to have been released by owners. Mink normally hang near water though. Weasels are not that big. Size of a mouse only long like a mink. They turn white with a black tip tail in winter. We see mink all the time in Wiarton along the shore in the rocks. They will swim out and try to ambush young Mallard swimming with the hen.

Jan 10, 2013
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White ferret type looking animal!
by: Anonymous

Jan. 09/13 I couldn't believe my eyes when all of a sudden I saw what looks like a ferret bound across my back deck!! It was pure white with a black tip on its tail. We back onto a forest but haven't seen anything like this in the 10 years we've lived here. It was very cute! It sounds like others have seen the same type of animal and believe it's a Weasel. We live in Guelph, Ontario. I hope to see it again!

Jan 06, 2013
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White Weasel in Rockwood
by: Anonymous

Today I saw a white Weasel in my yard playing in the snow. It was small with a black tip on it's tail.

Nov 18, 2012
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Oshawa Weasel
by: Anonymous

I saw what I thought was a ferret on my neighbor's roof last night, and after speaking to my brother he told me it was most likely a Weasel. After looking at some pictures on the net I think he is correct.

Nov 05, 2012
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Burlington Ontario
by: New st& Shoreacres rd

I just found the remains of a large koi & a Black ferret. The Ferret drowned in my leaf catcher screen. I wonder if the other Burlington was in the same area & do they nest in pairs as I see it had dug a hole to get under my deck. How do u get rid of them as the fish was $$$$

Oct 28, 2012
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We saw one in Burlington
by: Anonymous

We live in Burlington and just saw an all black Weasel go under the net on our pond and when we went outside it went into the rocks. I think it is probably trying to eat our fish. It was all black.

I had a ferret as a kid and it looked the same except slightly bigger.

Aug 07, 2012
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Albion Falls
by: curtis

I was walking on the path just across the bridge over the red hill and saw a bunch of small slender quick critters run across the path at different times. I am an avid hiker and wildlife watcher and I have never ever seen a wild weasel before, I was shocked and am returning tonight to try to find more.

Jul 06, 2012
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Wild Ferret?
by: Randy

Driving between St Catharines - Thorold, I had a critter cross in front of me on St David's Road at the landfill near Brock residences.

It was too small to be a Weasel or Otter, brown and black in color, very quick. They are not indigenous I am pretty sure, so possibly released or escaped from a student's room?

Jul 04, 2012
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Weasel in Southern Ontario
by: Danuta

I live in London, Ontario and I had seen the weasel in my garden, we chased it, worry that it will get into rat trap. Very cute animal and feeds on voles, which is great:)

Jun 12, 2012
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Fort Erie
by: Anonymous

I thought that I saw a baby ferret about a week ago. I'm not sure what it was exactly. It was about 30cm long including the tail. Small, slinky and light brown with a cute ferret face. It was on the deck with me and wasn't too scared when I talked to it. We have adult chipmunks who visit us daily, and when the (ferret?)came back on my deck a few minutes later, it had a baby chipmunk dangling from it's mouth!

Jun 08, 2012
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Ferret in Aurora
by: Anonymous

I live in rural Aurora, Ontario, and have also seen a wild ferret. Unfortunately, the one I saw was dead as my cat had hunted it and brought it in through the cat door. Ahhh nature.

Mar 21, 2012
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Dundas
by: Ryan

I also live in Dundas and have spotted this same thing a couple times....that is actually what brought me here.

It looks most like the River Otter. I have a small stream running through my backyard.

Are they common?

Mar 07, 2012
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Lagoon City (Brechin)
by: Anonymous

Last summer my boyfriend and I were walking down the pier in Lagoon City when we saw what we thought was a Ferret.

After looking online, I now believe this was a Weasel. They are very similar in looks and I can see how people would confuse them for each other!

Feb 22, 2012
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Correction - a Weasel, not a Ferret
by: Anonymous

I was searching the internet and I now believe what I saw was not a Ferret but a Weasel.

It only stayed around for about 2 hours and has not been back.

Managed to get just one picture of it also.

Feb 18, 2012
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Wasaga Beach
by: Anonymous

I just had an all white with a black tip tail ferret come up to me while I was changing the bird feeder.

He is just hanging around the back yard and the bush at the back.

What is a quick way to tell the difference between the ferret and a weasel?

Jan 14, 2012
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Ferrets in Newmarket too...
by: Anonymous

I also have seen what I am sure is a Ferret in our area near the river also.

I wonder if what you saw might have been an Otter, seeing as it was close to water?

May 11, 2011
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Interesting sighting!
by: Meaghan Edwards

I live in Hamilton, Ontario, and have seen such an animal in my own (suburban) backyard! I believe it was a Fisher.

I understand that with development they've been forced to live closer to human contact.

I hope people learn to coexist with them instead of falling for predator-based scare tactics :(

Me too!

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