Ask Bangor Daily News readers for help in identifying a mystery beast, and one thing’s certain: You’re going to get an earful.
That was the case last week, when we sought help in identifying a small, white animal (or non-animal) that appeared on Peggy Murray’s Scarborough trail camera.
Some of the respondents took our question seriously. Others opted for a humorous approach. Nobody, thankfully, referred to our mystery beast as a “chimichanga.” (Yes, that has been known to happen).
Among the offbeat responses: An online commenter who goes by the handle Woodysway thinks the photo shows an albino platypus. Another didn’t see an animal at all. “That looks to me like an oak leaf falling to the ground. It looks white because of its close proximity to the camera,” a commenter named escyr said.
Jeffrey Crum emailed us to say the critter was a black-tailed weasel in its winter coat. And he said he should know. “Had one get in my house once. Thought a friend had released a white rat as a joke until I caught it and researched it.”
CoastalGal also called it a weasel, as did a commenter named Caleb003. “It is an ermine, more commonly called a weasel,” Caleb003 said. “It is in its white winter phase. They turn brown as the days lengthen, then back to white as the days shorten. An adult weighs less than a pound, but they are ferocious on domestic chickens. I had one kill seven 8-pound laying hens in one night.”
While listening to reader opinions was fun, I did feel a bit of a responsibility to provide Murray with the correct identity of her mystery beast. I reached out to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists Shevenell Webb and Keel Kemper.
The duo, you may recall, shared differing opinions on another “mystery beast” photo that we featured in January.
“The animal blob in the image is moving, creating a blurred, distorted effect. But based on the white coloring of the blob and other photos of opossum on this camera, this is probably a safe bet,” Webb said. “February is breeding season, so it’s common to see opossums roaming around on warm nights that time of year.”
Kemper, who got outvoted by two colleagues the first time around, was willing to concede with Webb.
“Well I got skunked in the last trail cam mystery game show, so I am going with Shevenell on this,” he said. “Opossum.”
Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted.