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