Eating Squirrel

On the hunt for a letterbox last weekend at the Audubon Center in Forest Park I heard a peculiar squealing ahead of me on the Woodpecker Trail. It came in spurts and had the high pitch of an animal in extreme fear or pain. I moved slowly down the trail toward the noise until I saw a spastic burst of writhing fur in the ferns just a few feet ahead. Each fit of movement would immediately be halted and then the horrible noise would ensue until another flurry of movement sent the furry bundle scurrying erratically through the underbrush. I briefly considered that it might be squirrels mating. After all, I could clearly make out the bushy brown of a squirrel's tail whipping around, but the sound seemed too deathly to be anything that might contribute to further life.

I stood very still for a minute or two trying to catch a clear view, and eventually the squirrel rolled onto the clear patch of trail a few feet ahead of me. It lay there panting, with a horrible glazed look in its eye, already clearly past the point of saving itself. From its back sprang a spry little short-tailed weasel. The weasel had been slowly killing its prey with a bite to the neck; even as it pinned the squirrel's franticly kicking legs with its own small limbs. The weasel was clearly startled by my presence and it stood stock still for a moment to consider what threat I might pose. After only a second, before the squirrel could do much more than roll his eye imploringly in my direction, the weasel seized upon it again and yanked it into the ferns. The death cries continued with less urgency, and I walked on.

* * * * *

I decided to tell the docent at the Audubon Visitor's Center about what I'd seen. After relating that I'd accidentally interrupted a weasel taking down a squirrel she stopped me abruptly and asked if the weasel had gotten away with the squirrel. I assured her it had. She breathed a small sigh of relief. 

"It would have been tragic for all that energy to have been wasted." she said.


daniel said...

I was certain this entry was going to be about a video I just came across and posted on my facebook page, but, sadly, it was not to be.

Silly weasel. Here's how eating squirrel is really done:


Jeffrey T. Baker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey T. Baker said...

I have no way to respond to this video.

Perhaps I'll just shake my head and blame the ills of the world on Facebook.

daniel said...

I knew I shouldn't have mentioned facebook. You would have loved the video if I hadn't mentioned facebook.

"You know how squirrels like nuts!"