I want to see a long-tailed weasel.
I might have seen one in 1998 when crossing over Adams Bayou near my home in Orange County. It was at night and this little creature slowly walked across the road.
At first it looked like a mink but the color wasn’t quite right and it didn’t quite look as bulky as the mink I was used to seeing in the area.
Still, I can’t call that a sighting.
I want to see a weasel and know that I saw it.
I have a spot where I see mink about every third trip. Some of them are quite large and aren’t very spooked by human presence.
But this type of weasel is another issue and they are Texas residents too.
Texas is full of wildlife you might not realize roams the region and also to a few that are native to distant foreign lands.
In 1999 my Aunt Ann who lived in Newton County told me about some strange high pitched whistling that almost sounded like a scream sounding off on the back side of their property. One evening she even saw something very large and white just past her horses about 1/2 mile from her front porch.
This was early in the era of game cameras but I had one and unlike the inexpensive models that today feature HD video and high resolution digital photos, this one shot 35 mm print film. It was costly, time consuming and you had to be very careful to set up right or you might get cattle or a bunch of raccoons you were not targeting.
I set the camera up and returned two days later. On the camera was a beautiful white bull elk in velvet, obviously an escapee from a captive population. It had been more than 100 years since elk roamed naturally in East Texas and seeing any elk much less a white one was a shock but things like that do happen here locally.
A couple of years ago fishing guide and TFG contributor Capt. Eddie Hernandez reported seeing a manatee at the Sabine Jetties.
According the wildlife officials at Louisiana State University (LSU), manatees are a marine mammal of the order Sirenia, derived from the Latin word “siren” or “mermaid”.
“Many people believe that sailors mistook manatees for the mythological mermaid.”
Manatees have a body form similar to a seal, but they are much larger reaching 13 ft in length. Manatee can live to be 50 years old. The average manatee is 10 ft long and weighs roughly 1000 lbs. Females are usually larger than males.
According to LSU officials manatees spend 6 to 8 hrs a day in shallow water grazing grass beds consuming roughly 100 lbs of food each day which equals 4 to 9 percent of body weight.
“They can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes and have been known to sprint for short distances at 15 mph. Manatees will communicate through sound, sight, taste, and touch. Manatees can hear very well even though they do not have external ear lobes.”
As you can see one does not have to travel to Africa, Australia or Alaska to encounter interesting and mysterious wildlife. We have plenty right here in Southeast Texas. You just need to keep your eyes open and maybe do a double take if something looks a little bit odd out there.
As you can see in the wilds of our region the unusual is not so…unusual.
Chester Moore, Jr.