Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our little mustelid visitor

The other night, we found this poor little guy trapped in a plastic barrel in our barn...


I'm not sure if he is a Shorttail or Longtail Weasel. Can anyone tell? He was fairly large.


He was in there with some black walnuts and dirt, and couldn't get out. I had been meaning to deal with that barrel, because I had envisioned an animal falling in and getting trapped! We took the barrel outside and laid it on its side in the snow next to the granary. The weasel quickly scampered off.

I was worried he was after the chickens (but our coop is predator-proof), but after doing some reading, I  have found out that weasels are expert mousers and the Shorttail and Longtail weasels rarely attack poultry. We have far too many mice around here, so I am happy to have the weasel out there controlling things!

I called him a "mink" in this video but I meant to say ermine. We used to have minks around our oceanfront home in Nova Scotia and they are quite a bit larger (and browner!) than this...


He was quite stinky but very cute. I know they can be ferocious little guys but he just wanted to get out of that barrel and I'm glad we found him in time!



21 comments:

  1. He's a cute lil' critter! I'm glad you saved him.

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  2. We had on INSIDE the house on New Year's Night last year...the house stunk!
    Jane x

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    1. Ooooh dear! That happened to my friend Ronna too. I can only imagine what cat and dog chaos would ensue if it happened in OUR house...

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  3. for all the bad press these little guys get there actually quite friendly. My brother had one come and go in his trailer one winter. he left the bone from his t-bone steak on the table. He woke up to some noise and found the weasel trying to take the bone through the small hole in the floor that he used. My brother broke the bone into small pieces and everybody was happy.

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    1. Aw, that's a great story!

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  4. Replies
    1. ANd apparently an excellent mouser!

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  5. Beautiful critter! I didn't realize they smelled so bad, though.

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    1. He smells surprisingly skunky. I knew weasels are like ferrets and have an odour about them, but wow, p-yew!

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  6. Wow, that is so neat! Thanks for sharing and letting me see the little guy. I hope you don't come to regret letting him go, but how very beautiful he was.

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    1. I'm not too concerned. I've read that Short- and Long-tailed weasels rarely go after poultry, and our coops are predator-proof with hardware cloth over everything. So we should be okay. These weasels are considered beneficial because they are so good at mouse control. We have plenty of mice in our barn and granary! He can be our resident barn cat replacement. :)

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  7. We have Weasels here, but they are brown. Yours is a real BEAUTY.

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    1. These guys are brown with a white belly until winter, when they turn white! Same as our resident snowshoe hares. Nature's amazing. THey know to camouflage themselves in the snow.

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  8. So cute! I wish you a Happy New Year and we'll see the 2013th.

    Hugs

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  9. Ooo! He's handsome! We have a species of those down by the barn and my lady sees them running in the stream bed a lot. Do weasels and mink have winter and summer coats?

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    1. These weasels turn white in winter, but minks stay brown all year round. Minks are larger than these little guys!

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  10. Oohh he/she is just sooo cute <3
    Glad you came in time to save he/she :)

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!