Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The wily weasel

Weasels get a lot of bad press. Perhaps it’s their sly habits, or the way they seem to slither along the ground, but weasels have become symbols of sneakiness and subterfuge. You’re a “weasel” if you mislead people, shirk a duty, or squeal on someone.

Yet weasels are pretty smart, so smart in fact that some experts can’t catch them – even on film.

For months, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has been trying to capture Long- and Short-tailed Weasels for study, and hasn’t been able to trap a single one. Connecticut biologists also set up ink-padded tracking tubes, to record their footprints on paper, but have gotten only mouse prints. They’ve even set up cameras to nail them on film – nada.

Wildlife conservationists are going through all this trouble because a lot is unknown about these cousins of the skunk. Weasels are so secretive, experts aren’t even sure of their range in Connecticut, and must rely on roadkill and chance sightings to estimate their territories and numbers.

Perhaps the wildlife experts need to learn some weaselly wiliness.

If only they could catch one to learn from.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok, just had what I would say was a mink scamper across the frozen pond... small weasel like dark brown/black. Have seen them here before...