short-tailed weasel


Weasels, also called ermines, live one or two years. Their fur turns white in winter and brown in summer. Photo by Eric M. Beeman. In the last century, when my wife was but a wee tyke, she spied a small hole in the bank overlooking a drainage ditch. An inquisitive lass, her rampant curiosity led her to insert her arm to see what treasures lay entombed inside. A muffled chittering and a quick brush with silky fur necessitated a hasty retreat, but not before a set of sharp white teeth buried themselves into the soft flesh of her thumb. My future bride shrieked and flailed her arm to no avail, as the marauder was firmly attached. A final bash loosened its grip and our young adventurer sped off to the solace of her grandparents, curious no more. Most introductions to Alaska’s smallest furbearer are less traumatic, although perhaps as brief.…