Tim Melling – Weasel

Tim writes: I know this isn’t a competition winner but it is an extremely difficult subject to photograph, especially carrying prey.  I was out for a walk locally on 11 October when I saw something moving on the track some way ahead.  A quick glance through binoculars and I’d identified it as a Weasel that was moving towards me.  I sat quietly as it approached  hoping its preoccupation would mean it did not notice me and would come close.  But alas, it seemed to know exactly where it was going and turned off the track and into the grass while still some distance away. 

I’d identified it as a female Weasel by its small size, and of course I’d ruled out Stoat on size and by the absence of a large black-tipped tail.  The head to tail tip measurement of females is 22.5cm whereas males are more than 4cm longer at 26.5cm, but are about twice as heavy as females (68g female, 125g male).  The prey is a Short-tailed Vole (aka Field Vole- Microtus agrestis) which looks almost too big for the Weasel to carry.  I thought that October would be too late for her to have young but they give birth April to August and the young are dependent until 9-12 weeks, so it is quite possible she was bringing prey back to her kits.  Though Weasels also cache food, so prey carrying does not necessarily mean she has kits.  And a final thought.  Does this Weasel have more than one prey item in its mouth?  There seems to be a ball of fur nearer to its face than the obvious vole, and I don’t think this is part of the vole.  But it doesn’t look big enough to be a fully grown vole.  Maybe it’s a young vole.


1 Reply to “Tim Melling – Weasel”

  1. I’ve scruffed a short-tailed vole once or twice (the technique takes practice, thus). A short-tailed vole has bit me once or twice.

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