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‘Rarest mammal in North America’ wanders into Colorado garage

Wildlife officials in Colorado said rescuers were summoned to a resident’s garage to relocate a black-footed ferret, “the rarest mammal in North America.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said a resident of Pueblo West, near Walker Ranch, contacted the agency this week to report the discovery of the ferret inside his garage.

“Bears in garages are old news. But an endangered black-footed ferret, the rarest mammal in North America, in a Pueblo West garage?” the wildlife agency tweeted.

The man managed to trap the ferret in a box by the time officers arrived, the agency said.

A microchip implanted in the animal revealed it was one of nine black-footed ferrets released two weeks earlier on a 1,600-acre prairie dog colony near Highway 50 as part of conservation efforts for the species.

“We don’t know exactly why this black-footed ferret left the colony,” Ed Schmal, an agency conservation biologist, said in a news release.

“We put them into prairie dog burrows, but they may not stay. Sometimes they scramble around the colony to find the right home. This one might have gotten pushed out by other ferrets and it went looking for a new home. We really don’t know.”

The ferret was determined to be healthy and was successfully returned to the colony, officials said.

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