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A Weasel Tale


When we first met him, his eyes had not yet opened. Weighing in at a mere 32 grams, he was tiny enough to fit in the palm of a hand.

Long tailed Weasel infant

He was frail and dehydrated, having been separated from his mother for some time.

The dehydration showed in his dry, flaking skin.

Long tailed Weasel infant

Had a concerned citizen not taken this orphaned Long-tailed Weasel to a Montesano veterinary clinic, there would be no more to his story. But that kind act did occur, and after a short stay at the veterinary clinic the weasel came to PAWS where we were able to ensure that his life story would have many more chapters to come.

Our part in this story lasted 61 days. Those days were filled with top-notch medical care, species-appropriate caging and nutrition, and enrichment that helped to prepare the growing weasel for his eventual return to the wild. By the end of his stay, the weasel had grown to a sleek, 256 gram predator. Not only would he no longer fit in the palm of a hand, no one who wanted to keep their fingers would ever dream of trying to pick him up. 

I had the privilege of seeing the weasel off as the PAWS chapter of his life came to a close. This took place in a secluded forest along a stream just outside the town in which he had been found. At first, the weasel was uncertain about what was happening. When I opened his transport container, he cautiously peeked out from under the towel beneath which he had been hiding.

Long tailed Weasel release

After disappearing for a moment back under the towel, the weasel peeked out on the other side.

Long tailed Weasel release

His curiosity now getting the best of him, the weasel came all the way out from under the towel and began to investigate his surroundings more thoroughly.

Long tailed Weasel release

He was clearly interested in what was outside his transport container, but the weasel was not yet willing to leave its familiar confines. He walked around the lip of the container, sniffing as he went.

Long tailed Weasel release

As the weasel explored, he seemed to suddenly remember that I was standing nearby. He froze for a second and looked at me as if to determine whether or not I was a threat.

Long tailed Weasel release

But then he caught a scent coming from the nearby animal trail next to which I had purposely set his transport container. Whatever he smelled must have been more intriguing to him than I was.

Long tailed Weasel release

The weasel turned to look at me once more, as if he was just making sure I had stayed put. He was clearly trying to make a decision, and I was just another variable he was factoring in.

Long tailed Weasel release

And then he decided. He hopped out of the transport container and headed off up the animal trail.

Long tailed Weasel release

As the weasel left the transport carrier behind, he closed the PAWS chapter of his life story. In the same moment, he began a new chapter, but this one, and all subsequent chapters, will be under his own authorship.



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Kevin, thank you so much for this great story! I love the details of the release process. This little weasel looks very alert and ready to be at home. Looks like you and the wildlife crew did a great job in restoring him to health while preserving his natural wariness of humans.

Beautiful pics by Kevin Mack as always; what a happy story for this sweet baby! PAWS is the best, bar none! This little beast will live a great life because of the amazing work done at PAWS. :)

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