Mystery Critter with Jeff Flocken

Seth uses my binoculars to look across the river as we hike

TGSG Note: I am thrilled to have my long-time friend, Jeff Flocken, guest posting at The Guru today! Jeff is a tireless advocate for wildlife conservation and is one of the smartest and funniest people I know. Just don’t ever let him take you out to the House of Blues for your birthday the night before an early morning flight. EVER. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Big thanks to Jeff for taking time out of his busy schedule to stop by and play Mystery Critter with us. See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

I’ve picked one of my favorite North American animals for this week’s Grass Guru’s Mystery Critter.  It’s probably not an animal that you will see when you’re in your backyard, but maybe if you are on a nature hike in the deep wilderness you could spot one if you were very lucky.  And if you do ever come across one, keep your distance — it can be a very dangerous critter.


  • I am known as a fierce fighter who will attack other animals much bigger than me.
  • I am the largest land mammal in the weasel (or Mustelidae) family.
  • I am sometimes called “glutton”, which comes from my Latin name (Gulo gulo).
  • I am the mascot for the University of Michigan, however, I have rarely been seen in that state in the last 200 years.

What am I? Make your guess, and then go here for the answer and more interesting facts. Did you get it right?! If not, no worries — you’ll have another chance next week!

Even if you don’t see this mystery critter in your own backyard, there are plenty of wonderful creatures back there that you can see every day.  My four-year-old daughter and I have seen lots of wildlife in our backyard — ducks, red fox, deer, red-tailed hawks, squirrels, and even a beaver! – and we live right next to a big city.  So go outside and enjoy wildlife!  You never know what you’ll see.

And don’t forget to let everyone know what you see! Join the Wildobs community and report your wildlife observations. It’s a great way to keep track of your wild adventures and share info with others.


Guest blogger bio: Jeff Flocken heads up US policy   for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and is the Director of their DC Office.  In this role he works with a dedicated team of scientists, lawyers, and other wildlife experts who are committed to helping animals all around the world.  Jeff is also the co-founder of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders — a group that trains and mentors future wildlife conservationists in successful wildlife campaigning and leadership skills.  Jeff has been lucky enough to study giraffes in Africa, and has worked to conserve international species such as tigers, koalas, jaguars, and tapirs.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare works to help wild and domestic creatures around the world, including elephants, seals, tigers, whales, polar bears, dogs and cats as well as many other types of animals.

Creative Commons License photo credit: dionhinchcliffe

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