[Tweeters] Long-tailed Weasel

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue Aug 6 08:17:56 PDT 2013

Today, driving down the Lowell-Snohomish River Road (River Road to most locals ) I was charmed to see a Long-tailed Weasel win the game of Road Roulette as it bounded across the road, tail held high, right between my truck and an oncoming car. Just in the past month I've seen two of 'em pancaked on the same road, which I travel often at times. Last year I gathered one off the road and took it into show-and-tell at the Anchor Pub which was an interesting behavioral anthropology lesson: some people can handle seeing a dead creature, and some people really can't. It really was quite interesting and beautiful even though dead. At least some of us thought so.

This is a wonderful mammal to observe, and I've seen them from near sea-level, on Everett's Smith Island, ( where I observed one apparently after a Common Yellowthoat's nest, the parent bird was doing some frenzied decoy manuvers to lead the weasel around. I don't know how it turned out), on up to about 6000 ft on the famed 'Ptarmigan Traverse' just above Cascade Pass in the North Cascades. In that case the weasel was giving chase to several Ptarmigan in a talus field. It reminded me of that old ditty 'pop goes the weasel', as the weasel popped up in one spot, dissapeared under the rocks and 'pop'!, came up in another spot. The Ptarmigan cleared that scene finally. So weasels are interested in birds, just like you or me, if you like to eat birds and eggs that is.

I think it interesting that I've seen more of these weasels in the Snohomish County, lowlands, than in any other place I've ever lived, including some wilder, or equally rural areas. Just lucky I guess.

It did get me thinking about Roadkills, which sort of substitute as a trapline for lazy naturalist's like me. You know, by seeing what's dead on the road (DOR) you can get an idea of what's lurking out there in the habitat. One roadcake I haven't seen for years is a skunk. Maybe I don't get far enough in the boonies for that. Maybe skunks are getting smarter - I hope so, I think skunks are cool.

Jeff Gibson
in Weasel-world
Everett Wa

P.S. That old tune 'pop goes the weasel' is based quite a bit on Cockney slang apparently, and has nothing to do with weasels like we see bounding about.

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