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Friday, 8 July 2016

Devon Weasel - A fierce little beastie!

 

Whilst Carolyn and I were out on the daily cycle ride we happened to meet up with another example of Devon wildlife in the most unexpected way.

It was so unexpected that the only camera to hand was Carolyn's phone and so the pictures are not up to the usual standard but I think you can get an idea of the look of this interesting little creature.


The unexpected part of the meeting is that this little chap is pictured on the tarmac of the cycle path and I narrowly missed running him/her over as I spotted a little brown shape moving between my wheels.

I am identifying this as a weasel rather than a stoat as the distinguishing feature of the stoat is the black tip to the tail which our little friend quite clearly hasn't got.


Although this weasel is quite small, only about five inches tail to head, its fierce reputation as a predator of small voles on up to rabbits was well demonstrated as I attempted to persuade it off the path and out of the way of other cyclists and dog walkers, it faced me off and issued a sharp squeak whilst taking a bite at the phone in its case that I was using to prod it with. I was well aware of keeping my hand well clear of the sharp little teeth that were on display.

These creatures generally live for only three years or so and so the urge to kill and eat is a high priority for this fast active predator and the cycle path is home to plenty of voles, mice and rabbits.

I have usually only caught glimpses of these animals as they dash across the path so to see one close up almost seeming to be enjoying sitting out in the sunshine was a real treat.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/64193/7-fierce-facts-about-weasels
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Least_Weasel

6 comments:

  1. That's a real find as they are usually just a flash before the eyes. Last time i seen 1 up close was when out walking a few summers ago. Was a little rabbit sitting and didn't budge, as I approached i thought it was moving on the spot kinda oddly. Then a little head popped out and I realised it was already dead. The wee weasel was inside the rabbit feasting then darted off when disturbed.

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    1. Absolutely Paul, I thought it was a vole initially until the length of the body and prominent tail became obvious as my bike came to a stop.

      He didn't attempt to run off, just edged away as I approached with the camera, but when I tried being a bit more assertive he really stood his ground ready to take me on. Quite impressive considering the size difference between the two of us!

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  2. Have heard of weasels attacking humans too.

    Very nice find though.

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  3. Wouldn't suggest reaching out to it. They can be nasty little fellas!

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  4. Just as well we don't have Honey Badgers in the UK.

    Vince

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  5. The nice thing about living in the UK is that when you walk through the countryside you can feel confident that you are the top apex predator.
    I smile now when I think of walking through woods on Vancouver Island with a stick in my hand after seeing a big sign warning visitors to watch out for bears.

    Anyway Honey Badgers are the least of your worries, it's those sneaky Woozles, as Winney the Pooh so rightly pointed out, that are the biggest threat.

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