T Nation

I Have an Ermine In My House!


This morning, while on my way to make coffee, I thought I was seeing things but no, there was an ermine on the stairs leading up to the kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago, I had seen it for a brief second outside by my bird feeders. Thinking it was after the squirrels, I just thought it was cute but paid it no mind. Doing a little research on these furry little creatures, I've found out that they are actually pretty aggressive little things.

Trying to figure out what the food source was here, I cannot. My house is spotless and there is no food laying around anywhere, no dirty dishes, etc. I moved the fridge out, since he was close to it when I spotted him and found a pile of bird seed underneath it! I thought they were carnivores???

At any rate, he has little pathways apparently in between the walls; you can hear his little claws as he makes his way around.

Does anyone know how to get rid of these things? I have an 11 year old child in the house and I don't feel like going through a series of rabies shots.



You need a dog or cat. Critters like this can smell a predator, and if you don't live with one, they will see your house as open territory.


Would that attract more of them? I have seen two of them outside and that's it so far. Apparently they will attack cats, dogs, chickens, and squirrels. Not even necessarily only when they are hungry.


A rabbit will attack a dog if it is cornered, so anything is possible.

I don't know anything about these animals specifically, other than they make nice coats, but the reason it is trying to move into your house is that as far as it is concerned your house is a beautiful piece of uninhabited real estate. Whether you keep your house clean or dirty doesn't matter.

Where do you live that you have these things running around your yard?


This past November, I moved here: http://ca.epodunk.com/profiles/new-brunswick/tide-head/2002808.html That river is right outside my front door. Apparently one of Jack Nicholson's favorite salmon fishing spots (although I have yet to see him there).

I also have moose, snowshoe hares, bald eagles and all kinds of endangered species in my yard. My yard backs onto a provincial park. I can only imagine what else I'll see here.

Like I said, any and all suggestions appreciated. I am a total city girl and I admit that I don't have the first clue how to deal with wild animals.


You can always call animal control/pest control and ask them to remove it. Another option is buying your 11 year old child a pellet gun and letting him/her pretend to be Rambo.


In all honesty it's very unlikely that the animal will attack your 11 yr old in any way unless cornered and maybe prodded with a stick.

I see your concern for it coming into your house but I must say that I would KILL to live somewhere where a critter like that could be seen on my stairs.

The most I get is a spider or a mouse and a badger or hedgehog in my garden.

They come inside for a number of reasons. Food is the main one but if your house is clean then that's unlikely although they can find food sources in the most unlikely places.

Second is that it's cold outside and warm inside. Where do you live and what's the weather like at the moment?

Another reason is that their natural habitat has been disturbed. Have there been any major environmental changes (logging etc) in the area where you live recently?

I do agree with UG about getting rid of them though. Yes it's possible that they will attack a dog or cat but only when cornered. They (like mice and rats) pick up well on the scent of a large predator like a cat and stay well clear.


While buying a cat or dog and trying to scare the Ermine away sounds like a great idea, you may want to reconsider. I have seen these animals in action and they are very strong. In most cases they will destroy a cat, and at the very least cause multiple injuries, which will require expensive vet visits. The sound of a larger animal such as a dog may scare the animal away but DO NOT let your dog engage in physical contact with the Ermine, it will injure your dog and possibly transfer diseases. Your best bet is to either call animal control or try to lure it into a cat trap with bait. A cat trap will not hurt the Ermine and you can safely transport it outside. Also check the outside of your house for holes that the Ermine could enter through, and don't keep your doors open for long periods of time. You may want to remove ASAP before it builds a nest in your wall or eats through some of your electrical wires, which will need costly repair.


Call someone from the South. Small mammals r' gud eatin' round these parts.


It looks kinda cute and furry. Are you sure you don't want to just keep it and feed it and make it a pet?

Do you have a chimney in your house? We used to have a weasel that would get in that way. Just put some chicken wire over the top.
I'm sure if you get one of those 'have-a-heart' traps you could catch it and let it go in some.... place where those live.


I'm from the South and I could use some Moose meat. I'll leave the eagles alone but everything else is fair game. The thing in your house looks a bit cute to get blasted though. lol


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Ha! He got one for Christmas and believe me, he's already offered his services:)

I just got off the phone with the pest control people and the hardware store. I got many suggestions. The one they suggested strongly was this: Put out meat for the ermine for a couple of nights in a row and let him have it. The third night, put the meat inside a rodent trap. I'm going to try this but what the heck do I do with it if I catch him? lol I know I can set it free outside again and check for small openings in the foundation but I'm not exactly a handyman. Any areas in particular I should be looking for?


Well Renton, I have lots of room if you want to come catch it. You'd be in heaven here if you like the wild. Keep your spiders at home though please. shivers

Tide Head, New Brunswick in Canada is home for now. It's pretty cold now. Last week it was (-18) degrees...now that's about 0 Farenheit I believe???

And yes, lots and lots of clear-cutting here for the past little while.


Personally I like Rondas idea about making it a pet but then I like pets that offer a little danger. My fish is now big enough (and a carnivore) that it could easily take off a finger or two if I put my hand in the tank at the wrong time.

Catching this critter should be easy enough though as has been suggested. They are very inventive as to how they get in though. The smallest gap that you don't notice is all that it takes.

If you catch it and release it, make sure you drive at least 10 to 15 miles from your house before letting it go. If you don't, the chances are that it'll be back within a day or two.

Cute as they are though, as has been mentioned, there's good eating on them and if you skin it properly and catch a few more you got a nice pair of gloves.


Shoot me your number...he's yours!


have-a-heart trap or make gloves... it's a toss up :stuck_out_tongue:


Hey Bushy....what about sedating it? Putting something in or on the meat I set out?

I've been trying to call a professional and nobody seems to want to come out to the house.

They are viscious though...agreed!


I'm on my way!!! lol.

I don't do Farenheit but -18C is cool enough to start making them look for somewhere warmer. Coupled with the cutting it's probably why Ernie (his new name - sorry) has come inside.

As it stands he now knows what a nice house you keep and is probably watching cable TV every night when you've gone to bed.

I suspect your only chance is to capture him and get rid in one way or another. Even when the weather warms up again you have to remember that he'll be very comfy by then and will probably be half way through the new series of Deadwood so it's not likely he'll want to leave.

Trap him and either set him free well away from your house or skin/eat him. I don't kill animals unless I'm going to make some use of them (no references to my kinky score req'd thank you) hence my angle on this.


Sedation would be unlikely to work in this case. Whatever you used would be likely to either take too long to have an effect in which case Ernie will have wandered off somewhere for a snooze or would be difficult to dose right in which case you would kill him. The latter is fair enough but I wouldn't eat the flesh afterwards.