|Weasel sp. (Seneca Falls, NY 4/11)|
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Pop Goes the Weasel
To quote Homer Simpson: "WooooHooo!" I checked the cameras last night and found a new species on the camera trap in the back yard. You are looking at the first weasel photo I have ever gotten on a camera trap. I cannot tell if this is a short- or long-tailed weasel. If I HAD to guess, I would say long-tailed. Here's why: 1) All short-tails turn white in winter and but only some long-tails do. I would think that a short-tail would still be showing signs of changing back into the brown coat. What at first glance look like white streaks on this guy are due to a wet coat. 2) The tail does appear to be long. Of course, it cannot be just that easy... A long-tailed weasel has a tail that is at least 44% the length of its body. That is hard to judge in the field, even with a photo. I have a few weasel skins in the collection at school that are pretty darn close to that number on both sides (in other words, some longish short-tails and some shortish long-tails). But neither of these arguments is concrete. I am happy at this point to just have my first weasel and leave it at that.
This new species got me thinking. How many species have I captured on my property? Well, just this past week I have photos of six different species of birds and 10 species of mammal. What are my numbers for all time on my property? Seventeen species of birds and 18 species of mammals (including domestic dog and feral cat). There are so many more species of birds than mammals present on the property that the numbers are a little surprising. Many of the bird species are small and either do not trigger the camera or move through and are not captured as an image. Perhaps I will dig out a few bird pics and post them this week.