Urban Wildlife, Weasel Edition

Over the last eight or nine years, we have highlighted one of the more fun trends in contemporary life, the migration of wild creatures into cities and suburbs. Deer are everywhere; wild turkeys and foxes are common; coyotes are moving relentlessly in; hawks are ubiquitous to a degree we couldn’t have imagined 50 years ago, and bald eagles are becoming common; snapping turtles can be a serious hazard. But one animal we haven’t seen in my neighborhood is the weasel.
One of my brothers lives in Salt Lake City. He has had an impressive parade of wildlife passing through his yard. Deer, sure, that’s easy. But also a rattlesnake sunning itself on his back step. I told him if I ever saw a rattlesnake in my yard, I would sell my house and move farther north.
Most recently, his back yard has been home to a weasel. My brother took this photo; click to enlarge:
Now, that is an ermine, isn’t it? A weasel in winter? I think so. It certainly looks like what ermine coats are made of. But apparently this is a point of debate. Anyway, it is a beautiful animal, and one that is welcome in an urban setting–I express no opinion on whether Salt Lake City can be considered “urban”–since, if I am not mistaken, every single thing it eats is an animal whose population we would like to see reduced. So, Eric, if you stumble upon a litter of weasels, feel free to send us a couple!


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