Samantha Culp

Urban Wildlife in Beijing: The Mysterious Huang Shulang (黄鼠狼)

Several months ago, I saw some kind of furry, long-bodied creature dart under the bushes in an apartment complex in Haidian. A ferret? In Beijing? I even asked the gatekeeper of the complex, who insisted I had seen a cat. I also remembered some friends describing a strange “squirrel-like” animal native to Beijing – could this be it? Just a few nights ago, I spotted another one, ambling along in the street-light between some cars, and a bit of internet research seems to have solved the mystery. According to Danwei, what I saw was likely a huang shulang (黄鼠狼), aka the Yellow Weasel (or more technically the Siberian Weasel, mustela sibirica). They are still apparently quite common in Beijing, especially in the hutongs, and a sighting is considered either good luck or bad luck (depending, I think, on whether you raise chickens). I hope I’m lucky enough to see one again.

More: a video featuring both huang shulang and ferrets.