Peep goes the weasel

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I was in the kitchen, baking a loaf of artisan bread, while clarifying butter and extruding rigatoni pasta from my noodle machine. Probably. Or, I might have just been drinking a glass of water. Ok so I was only sneaking a handful of chocolate chips but really that’s completely irrelevant to this story.

I was in the kitchen.

That’s when I saw it.

Something small and wild was sitting on the deck, peering in through the sliding glass door.

By the time I tiptoed over for a closer look, the long tube of white sped off in hot pursuit of a gust of wind and disappeared around the front of our garage.
Me: Are rats white?

Geoff: What?

Me: Or maybe it was a ferret!?

Jan: Maybe WHAT was a ferret?

Me: The thing that was just on our porch. It was white and long and fast and…

The 5 year old: Is it an animal? Can I keep it?!! Pleeeese?!

Geoff: Maybe it was a mink.

Me: There are no minks around here. Wait, are there minks around here?? 
That’s when this Leonardo da Vinci painting I studied long ago in art school, popped into my head.

Me: WAITAMINUTE! Lady with an ERMINE!!! Ermine! That's what was on our porch!
Let me just say, my family is pretty used to my hallucinations imagination. I mean, in the past three years alone, I’ve witnessed an ostrich running through a field off the highway (old oil tank), seen an alligator sunning itself on a rock (a tree branch) and spotted a baby llama laying on the beach in front our of house (seaweed).

Still, I knew what I knew. I had just seen a creature from the Renaissance.


Not long after the porch episode, Jan and I were in a friend’s kitchen and found out that a weasel had made his way into our neighbor’s basement via a drainpipe. He had also been seen hanging around the chickens. After curfew.

That’s when I realized that my ermine was actually a weasel, which - according to the big book of animals I immediately went home and consulted – are the exact same beasts as stoats. And maybe even polecats.

Which begs the question, why do these little buggers have so many names and anyway who cares because for once I hadn't been seeing things.

That's him!!!
But none of that matters because the most important thing to note here is that ermines (or stoats or weasels) are pricks. And vampires.

I'm not kidding.
Once a potential prey is identified, the ermine approaches as closely as possible. With incredible speed it grasps the back of the victim's head and neck with sharp teeth, and wraps its body and feet around the victim. The victim dies from repeated bites to the base of the skull. (From the NB Trappers Website) 
Um, what?

So, you can imagine my horror when, the other night, while working alone on my computer, I heard an ermine screeching at me from beneath my office window.

I turned off the lights and pressed my face against the glass, to see if I could catch a glimpse of the furry monster who (according to the big book of animals) "confuses its prey by prancing before them in a deranged fashion, lulling them into a baffled reverie".

Which is not unlike how I approach dancing at weddings.

I couldn’t spot anything from the office window but I did hear the sound move towards the front of the house.

I switched on the outside lights and sneaked into the bathroom – determined to get a photograph of the little bastard who was taunting me from the lawn.

That’s when I saw it.

The shrieks were most definitely emanating from the corner of the yard where something small and white sat on the bare grass where the snow had recently melted.
Geoff: What are you doing?

Me: I'm about to record the call of the ermine.

Geoff: That’s not an ermine. It’s a bird.

Me: It can’t be a bird. It’s nighttime. Only owls come out at night and that’s not a hoot. It’s a squeach. Plus, I just googled “ermine sounds” and “weasel noises” and they sound kind of sort of like what's going on out there.
Geoff: I'm going to make popcorn. 

No sooner had I captured this incriminating video of my window screen, than the eerie sound disappeared. (Turn up your speakers.)

I spent part of the night convinced I was hearing weasels scuttling around in our basement – a place where some have entered and even fewer have exited - until I sent Geoff downstairs to put a rock on the drain.

The next evening, the little bastard was at it again.

Squeach. Squeach. Squeach.

I followed the sound as my eyes slowly adjusted to the blackness. “Screw you, you little bloodsucking stalker!” I yelled into the darkness.

That’s when I saw it.

The tiny creature making such a ruckus, looked at the house, stamped his feet and flew (yes flew) off into the night sky, squeaching (ok, peeping) as he soared.

So now the question is, do ermines fly?

No really.

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