On Monday morning, I carried my laptop down into the basement, while listening to some news coverage of the crash landing of the plane at the Halifax airport over the weekend.
Jeff had thrown down wood the night before, so there was a nice little pile still on the floor near the basement walkout, that were drying as the snow melted off, so I could select just the right pieces to get the fire started. The perfect fire is an art form you know.
I got the fire going, and settled back into work, sitting in front of the woodstove with my little tv tray table for my laptop, facing towards the firewood on the floor.
All of a sudden I saw a cute little white face appear above a piece of wood, freeze, and watch me. A mouse? No, it is pure white, and oh so cute, what is that thing!? I think it is a weasel!
Suddenly it dashes off and disappears below the wood. What on earth? Is that one of those ermines I’ve heard of, the illusive little white creatures?
I saw that weasel in the pile of wood, running under our basement shelves, I heard him rustling over by our basement sink, I heard something scatter across the floor above my head, then he was on top of another shelf staring at me. SO CUTE, I wasn’t scared of him at all, but he moved so fast I couldn’t get a photo. In fact, he moved so fast, I thought there must be two of them for awhile!
So I opened the basement walkout door hoping he would run outside. It was -17C on Monday morning so it was getting chilly fast. At one point, he ran towards the door, and he had a mouse hanging from his mouth! He dropped the mouse in the woodpile, and ran back the other way.
OK, so I was a little scared of him running up my pant legs. Stupid cartoons. I tucked my pants into my socks.
Once the sightings stopped and I couldn’t hear him rustling anymore, I closed the door. Jeff wanted to know how big it was and decided he should come home to figure out what to do. He/she wasn’t large, maybe 6 inches long max, including his short stubby tail with the black tip on the end.
Jeff borrowed a live trap from the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and set it in the basement with a can of sardines for bait. We closed the basement, expecting to soon hear the cage, but nothing.
In the meantime, we researching just how vicious these things can be, and they’ve been known to take out small animals like rabbits with their big sharp fang teeth. OH NO, what about SALLY our cat?
And how did we get a weasel in our house? Did it run in when Jeff had the door open to throw down wood the night before?
So fast forward to the present, two days later. We’ve had no sign of the weasel. Is he curled up somewhere, sleeping off his big mouse snack? Did he run out the door and I missed it? Does he have another way to get in and out of our house? The mice and shrews figure out how to get in, did he too? Or what about the drain in the basement floor. It leads out around the perimeter of the house, and then exists over the front hill. We could go look at that to see if there are any fresh tracks at the other end. Well. No we can’t. Everything is still covered in 3 feet of snow. I couldn’t walk there. Or I could with my snow shoes! Which are in the shed, which is frozen shut and buried with snow. Hmmmm….
My brave hunter husband put the cover on the basement drain. We had it open to put the hose from the dehumidifier down it. (I bet that is how snakes get in our basement too.) He put a trail cam on the live trap, covered up the 3 sides of the trap, and even sprinkled some flour on the floor to capture any footprints!
We’ve locked Sally in our bedroom with us for the last two nights so she doesn’t go hunting weasel in the middle of the night and end up as the prey. (How would a weasel even eat a rabbit I wonder…)
It looks like these creatures that you’ll find if you search “ermine” on Google Photos:
Since we haven’t had any sign of it, I guess we’ll leave Sally loose in the house tonight so we can get some sleep. She doesn’t go in the basement anyway. Not that I’m that convinced the weasel only stayed in the basement….