Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Nature Notebook – Weasels

WEASELS
By: Cliff Bennett

Weasels are active hunters of our forests, with an abundant appetite for rodents. Usually, they are secretive, slinking through the underbrush, around wetlands and through open woodlands.

Sunday evening, July 7, Lynda and her mother and I were sitting outside under our sun canopy enjoying a late afternoon drink when we started to notice a rustling in the leaves and a slight, plaintive pleading coming from behind the nearby rock wall. Suddenly, pouring around the end stone came not one but six baby weasels, stumbling over each other. The gaggle of light brown and white mammals headed out over the lawn, under the picnic table, between our feet and continued to the wall of the house.

At this point, they paused to regroup and then turned to the left and followed the foundation until they disappeared around the back of the house; all that is except one wee fellow. He stopped short of the corner, turned, looked me straight in the eye and whimpered pleadingly at me as if I were it’s mom. That pause was enough to confuse him and he started back between my legs.

Not wanting him to imprint on me, I barked sternly, hoping to turn it back on the path the others had taken. Not this guy! He rose on his hind legs, turned his head from side to side as if to say “What song is that you are singing?”. Trying to shoo him away, he started a game of touch tag, scooting around the table legs. I had no choice but to ignore him and return to my seat. Eventually, he retreated to the same path the others took and disappeared around the back of the house.

However, that wasn’t the end of things for the young weasel returned to our arena about ten minutes later, stopped, looked enquiringly at us as much as to accuse me of steering him down the wrong path. We ignored him and he retreated back the way he came from behind the stone wall. I’ve no idea where the rest of the litter got to.