Monday, December 05, 2022
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Dumpster diver

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | December 15, 2021 7:05 AM

So I was sitting in the snow next to the Dumpster outside the Hungry Horse News the other day and Andrea, our ad rep, pulled up.

“Why are you sitting in the snow next to the Dumpster?” she asked.

“Weasel,” I said.

“Weasel?” she asked.

“Weasel,” I said.

Then the weasel poked its head out from under the Dumpster and looked at me. It had a pink nose and black eyes and a black-tipped tail.

The rest of it was pure white.

“Oh, cool,” Andrea said when she saw the weasel. “He likes you.”

Takes one to know one, my smile said.

I have roamed far and wide across this landscape over the past 23 years. The number of weasels I have photographed is very few. The number I have seen, is a bit higher, but not by much.

The most interesting weasel sighting I can recall was on the Highline Trail. It had a ground squirrel in its mouth and the squirrel was pointing almost straight up, like a cigar. I missed the photo.

So when I noticed something dart under the Dumpster the other day when I was running the snowblower the last thing I thought of was weasel.

I figured a mouse or a rat.

I shut the snowblower off and stared at the Dumpster.

The weasel poked its head out from under the Dumpster and looked at me. I ran into the office and got a camera, snapped a few frames as the weasel poked its head out from the holes under the Dumpster.

Then the camera battery died.

Rats.

So I ran home, because home isn’t too far away, and got another camera with a bigger lens and a fully charged battery.

I figured by the time I got back the weasel would be gone, but I lucked out.

It was still there.

It would come out a little ways, then dart back under the Dumpster, then come out a little farther and dart back in.

Weasels have sharp teeth and are very fast. They’re in the same family of animals as mink, wolverines, otters, pine martens and yes, skunks.

Skunks of course, don’t seem all that quick, until one is coming at you.

The weasel, unlike its aforementioned cousins, turns mostly white in winter.

Based on its size, I believe this was a least weasel.

Eventually it got brave enough to come completely out from under the Dumspter, took off into a snowbank, and then under a shed, where I suspect, the hunting would be better.

The whole encounter took all of five minutes. But like many encounters with God’s cooler creatures, it was a lot of fun.

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