Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Weasel in the basement! Weasel in the basement!

Just when you think you've seen it all... A short time back, I made THIS POST about a Long-tailed Weasel, Mustela frenata, that cam-masters David and Laura Hughes had filmed in the outback of Monroe County, Ohio. So today, a comment rolls in on that post, as follows: "Hey Jim, I'm from upstate NY, I just came across a long tailed weasel in its white winter coat in my basement. Any suggestions as to what to do with it. Thanks Ron".

Well, I was a bit flummoxed, I don't mind telling you that. And also possibly a bit suspicious. It seemed too ludicrous to be true. Being a bit of a practical joker myself, when I encounter major oddball occurrences I can be a bit skeptical...

 Photo: Ron Shephard
Ron wasn't pulling the figurative wool over my cynical eyes after all - a bit later he piped along this photo, taken with his iPhone in the dim recesses of his basement. How'd you like to pop downstairs into the subterranean recesses of your dwelling, and spot a tubular white weasel eyeballing you from the rafters? Never mind, most of the readership of this blog would probably think it was cool. But if you were a normal person, it would likely startle the bezeezus out of you.
 Video: Ron Shephard
Ron shot this short vid with his trusty iPhone - smart phones do it all, get one if you don't have one. We see the weasel peering out from some shelving, undulating from side to side. It's swaying because that's what weasels do when they're trying to better detect the scent of something, prey usually. Ron can at least be grateful that he is larger than the weasel, or a meal he might be.
And why is this creature white? Long-tailed Weasels occupy a massive range that extends from southern Canada all the way into northern South America. In the northernmost reaches of their distribution, they change from brown to snow-white come winter. I am not 100% certain, but I believe Ohio is on the edge of the white-to-brown weasel shape-shifting. Weasels in northern Ohio tend to whiten up, while our southern weasels remain brown. Even when they turn white, as Ron's beast has, Long-tailed Weasels retain their black-tipped tail.
Video: Ron Shephard
Look at the little speedster go! Ron's very logical query was "what do I do with it?". My possibly rather unhelpful reply was to herd it into a box or sack and take it outside. Right. Seems like a good idea but rounding up weasels is easier said than done, as you might suspect after watching the above video. Hopefully the weasel will find its way back out through whatever portal it entered the basement.
On a positive note, Ron reports fewer mice.
Good luck with the weasel, Ron, and many thanks for sharing your story with us. Let me know what happens...


KaHolly said...

A weasel in the basement is a GOOD thing, as he has discovered!! If he found his way in, he'll find his way out. They are pretty cute!

Sharkbytes said...

I would be happy to have a weasel, except the dog would probably chase it. I saw a brown one in the yard one summer, but I've never seen one in the white phase.

DunnJH4 said...

I was trying to find the weasel at Rons house, never caught a glimpse. I've only seen brown ones before.

HdHogQueen said...

Guess what I too have a weasel in my basement. OOOOH I pray it finds it's way out because I'mnot doing laundry until I know for sure he's gone.