About a month ago a short-tailed weasel bounded past my feet and into the barn. “Slinky?” I thought so. It doesn’t seem like a weasel that didn’t know me would come so close. I sat a long time on the back porch observing Slinky last winter. She trusted me enough to come within inches of my leg. She tipped her head when I spoke, and she studied me as much as I studied her. Sometimes I’d look down through the three-quarter inch space between the porch floor boards to find her looking up at me. Yes indeed, Slinky is back, and she brought her baby weasels with her.
Baby weasels aren’t cute until they’re a few months old. They’re helpless for an extraordinarily long time for a small animal. Slinky ran into the barn and returned momentarily with what I thought was a newborn squirrel or some sort of pink mole. Past me, into the wood shed, back out, past me, to the barn. She came out with what was probably the third baby weasel but that time went to the snowmobile trailer. Slinky stood still under the edge of the trailer long enough for me to see that the baby was dead. She disappeared for a few seconds and returned without the body. Back to the barn and back to me again.
“Hey Slinky. Whatcha got there?” And as though she understood, she put the baby on the ground six feet in front of me. I. Am. The. Weasel. Whisperer. (Go ahead and laugh. Bonus points if you read that with Darth Vadar’s voice.)
Short-tailed weasels are killing machines but look at how gentle she is with this baby. Well, as gentle as a weasel holding a baby around its ribs can be. And look at her adorable little face..it’ll help distract you from the not-at-all-cute baby.
I got a good long look at the baby weasels as Slinky finished moving them to the space between the ceiling and roof over the back porch. She’s moved them again, probably because it was too hot in there. I know she hasn’t taken her family far as there aren’t any mice around. Her babies will be well fed. It likely won’t be long until she catches the juvenile red squirrel that found its way here last week.
Are you seeing baby animals yet? Kristin and I went for a ride in the woods last week and saw three species. The photos were taken through the windshield but I’ll share them soon anyway.