Walking along Buddleia Loop at Radipole this morning I noticed a little head peeping out from a bramble bush.
It was a weasel! The first one I have seen at Radipole (although I do see stoats now and again).
It soon came out again and started digging for all it was worth.
I have no idea what it was looking for, but it didn't appear to find anything.
I did't have a tripod with me, so this video is a bit wobbly.
It was a weasel! The first one I have seen at Radipole (although I do see stoats now and again). It soon came out again and started digging for all it was worth. I have no idea what it was looking for, but it didn't appear to find anything. I didn't have a tripod with me, so this video is a bit wobbly.
At one point I did think that this animal might have been a stoat rather than a weasel as it was so big.
But a close look at the video shows that this animal has a short ginger tail, whereas a stoat always shows a long tail with lots of black at the tip.
I suppose a stoat could always have an accident and lose half its tail, but they would still look different from this weasel, which has a really short round face rather than the long pointed face of a stoat.
Also the line between the brown upperside and the white underside of the neck is straight on a stoat, not uneven as in this animal.
So we definitely have a weasel here but the question still remains as to why it looked so big.
Carrying out a quick bit of research on the topic I find that weasels are known to have a huge range of sizes, from a minimum of only 30 grammes to a maximum 5 times larger. Also males are larger than females and this one is definitely a male.
Animals that show extreme differences in size between males and females are said to be sexually dimorphic. Peregrine falcons are another good example, with the females the larger sex by a long way. Many such animals are predators and the size difference means that the 2 sexes can catch a wider range of prey. For example male peregrines specialise in catching feral pigeons, but the females have been known to kill birds up to the size of geese! All weasels are able to overpower prey much larger than themselves, with the males commonly taking adult rabbits. Presumably an adult rabbit would be too much for a female but they would then be able to specialise in finding the baby rabbits while they are still in their burrows. Only the other day I was working on a dry stone wall on the ridgeway when I found a tiny round rabbit skull deep inside an old wall. Most likely this was taken there by a weasel.