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Long-tailed weasels are high-energy predators

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, June 9th, 2011 at 6:47 am in Long-tailed weasel.

Long-tailed weasel. Photo by Marina Chainey, Richmond, CA
1weasel marina chainey richmond

I spotted this charming little weasel in Wildcat Regional Park.  It was darting in and out of two entrances of a gopher burrow as if in play.  I was concerned for it’s safety since while I watched, a dog retrieved a ball for its master just inches away from the burrow. Also, the shadow of a hawk passed directly over him when he was out.  Is this a youngster?
Marina Chainey, Richmond, California

Long-tailed weasel. Photo by Marina Chainey, Richmond, CA
2weasel marina chainey richmond

This is a long-tailed weasel. Probably an adult. This is also the way weasels act. They are full of boundless energy, unlimited curiosity and continually on the move. They are not afraid of anything. Don’t be fooled, though. They are VERY aware of what’s going on around them at all times. I encountered one years ago in a wooded area of the Oakland hills. Instead of running from me as most wild creatures would, it played hide-and-seek with me around a tree.

Back in the 1970s when I was curator of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, Calif., we had a month-old orphan weasel brought in to our wildlife rescue hospital. I raised her until she was old enough to return to the wild. I called this little hyperactive beast, “Fidget!” What a character.

Long-tailed weasels are about 12-15 inches long and weigh around 10 ounces. They normally prey on small rodents (gophers, mice) and birds, but have been known to kill much larger animals, like jackrabbits. Tough little dudes! Beautiful photos, Marina! /Gary

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5 Responses to “Long-tailed weasels are high-energy predators”

  1. Barbara Says:

    Neat photos, Marina! (Weasels? In Contra Costa? I learned thirty-some-odd years ago about opossums … but weasels? We didn’t have these critters where I lived in Europe.)

  2. mangala devi Says:

    Dear Gary Bogue,
    Namaste. checking this out convinces me more than ever that I want you to talk at our ashrama in San Leandro’s annual Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prayer Day, October 16th,Sunday, your experience,your answers are so lucid ,straight forward and intelligent.
    I had sent you an email but have had no response from you, perhaps you will get this.
    hoping to hear from you. i had asked you to speak on the spirituality of animals and other creatures as well.
    the long tailed weasel is so exquisite, pictures tell everything about their intelligence and status,
    thanks again for your wonderful column and blog site.
    yours in service,
    mangalananda “mangala”

  3. Ed Chainey Says:

    Wonderful photos Marina. I know it took great patience and boundless curiosity to get them. Kudos. ~ Ed

  4. Cristina Keats Says:

    I had no idea that weasels were so darn cute! From now on, when someone is referred to as a weasel, I’ll see it as a compliment. LOVE the pictures!

  5. gwen Says:

    I was out watering my garden today and one of these little critters ran straight at me and almost jumped into my lap. It scared the heck out of me because I was concentrating on other things and figured it would run away as soon as I saw it. It kept coming toward me until I stood up (I was squatting). They are very cute, but really are not afraid of anything, not even my doberman who was right with me and two other dogs further out in the yard. It wasn’t until my doberman got curious that it decided it had better go through the fence to the backyard.

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