Friday, June 24, 2016
How could you not love a weasel?
This tiny weasel kit is just four weeks old and already it's a TV Star. The minute creature, which measures just 10cm and fits snugly in the palm of your hand, melted hearts when it appeared on BBC's Look North last week.
Traditionally despised as vermin, weasels are formidable predators. But this particular critter is turning the tide of opinion after appearing with me on the TV newsroom sofa.
I've been looking after him here at my home in Thixendale ever since a member of the public found him on a path on Walmgate Stray in York. He was only four weeks old and was barely moving - in contrast he barely keeps still now and I've named him Fidget, appropriately.
I'm glad I spent so long monitoring the wild weasels in my garden because it's given me a real insight into their early years. I knew, for instance, that Fidget would have already been eating meat when he arrived and so I didn't need to find a milk formula for him.
Weasels are usually seen as vermin and have been despised in our culture for centuries. I think most people who have the chance to see one up close and to observe it acting playfully will agree with me that the species are incredible survivors and when they realise just how tiny weasels are they might have more respect for their fearlessness. Perhaps Fidget might change the tide of opinion!
I've grown quite attached to him and in the first few days I woke up in the night to check up on him.
Weasels only live for a year in the wild and I'm undecided whether to release Fidget or whether it would be kinder to keep him since he's unlikely to be able to hunt with the ferocity he will need to survive in the wild.