Thursday, 16 July 2015

Stoat





A couple of days ago I was waiting for voles and a stoat appeared, slinking through the grass. It's been a week and a half since I had a good photo of a water vole, and it struck me that perhaps they'd changed their patterns to be more nocturnal and avoid the predator. There were still plenty of field signs about. I stuck the trail cam down and yes, it looks as if that's the case.

Which leads me to another question: when do water shrews ever sleep?

10 comments:

WendyB said...

Oh, those are lovely! The water vole appears to be exhibiting a degree of curiosity towards the camera (I always think of them as being totally wrapped up in their own world..)

I've never seen a water shrew - what amazing, zippy little creatures.
Have you heard of desmans - much bigger continental relatives that inhabit fast-flowing mountain streams, and with a long snout often used as a snorkel? The Pyrenean one grows up to 13.5cm, plus a long tail up to 15.5 cm, and the Russian one is bigger, up to 45 cm in total.. part of the mole family (Talpidae) apparently.

Hope the stoat clears off elsewhere - the voles have SO many predators..

Kate said...

They are too delicious for their own good! yes, I love desmans. I used to have a calendar with two of them squaring up to each other, except it looks as if they were having a good old chat and a laugh!

WendyB said...

Haha, that sounds like a classic, showing their teeth too..? Did you keep it (or maybe I can find it via Google.. :)

re. Predators, what is the story with RATS? I've twice in recent weeks seen one going in and out of vole holes, and generally looking like it was up to no good (it seemed very aware that it was being watched as well). There is no longer any vole presence at the near end of the ditch - they are only about from c. halfway along now, and then not very often. The rat is a worry as they are so common. There are some pike in the ditch too, plus the grass snake(s), and occasionally a heron..

WendyB said...

P.S. I think I've found it !!!
https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Animals/Archives/2004/Deadly-Days-for-the-Desman.aspx

Kate said...

That's the desman picture!

Kate said...

Rats aren't great news. The odd one can live side by side with water voles, but if they qet good population going, it can drive the voles away. I think, though, that the voles pack up and move (I mean rather than being predated by the rats).

Ian Doyle said...

Great videos Kate, thanks for sharing them with us.

Kate said...

A pleasure! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Lovely videos...
but...
given their size with a shrews metabolism...
would they actually ever have the time to sleep!
Tim

Kate said...

It's a good question!