Posted: July 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: I've never had a ferret, but there is one I see outside my home. We have seen him/her only one other time, last September. It looks like the same one and seems to be living inside a stone wall off of my patio. I've tried to coax it out. It does peek out at me sometimes, but never comes out fully. I have looked for lost ferret notices around the neighborhood. I first saw it shortly after neighbors across the street moved back to Mexico. I did not know them or where they went, so I can’t ask them if it accidentally escaped.
Any suggestions as to how I can catch it? I left water and dry cat food out on my deck the first time I saw it, but nothing was touched. This was based on a local vet's suggestion.
A: I have serious doubts that it is a ferret because it has lived outside for so long. More likely it is a mink or similar mustelid that has found a place to live.
Ferrets don't usually have the ability to survive outdoors like that for long because they don't have hunting instincts and generally have no fear. Because it is likely a wild mustelid, I suggest you leave it alone.
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