So last month I ticked off another wildlife first: I saw a stoat. An actual stoat. In real life.
I’ve never seen any mustelid and barely any wild mammals apart from foxes and badgers so seeing a real stoat in front of my eyes was such a thrill. We didn’t even have to track it down; we weren’t even treading softly through the woods but chatting happily and noisily until we stopped dead.
And there is appeared on the path. It walked up to the fence and perched itself on it to get a view, then it turned around and promptly wandered back into the hedgerow. I managed to get a photo but I only had my phone to hand and the zoom wasn’t great but you can make it out so it definitely happened and I have proof if anyone dares to challenge me!
I could tell it was a stoat because I had a black tip to its tail – this I learned from Springwatch. And, unlike weasels, who run close the ground, the stoat ran along the ground like it was jumping. Since then, I’ve learned a few more things about the stoat. Their fur is pure white in winter. They kill rabbits even though they are much bigger than them. That to encounter a stoat before setting out on a journey is considered bad luck.
It was at Pensthorpe in Norfolk that we saw it, a nature reserve that is home to rare wildfowl, breeding programmes for rare species, several impressive gardens, open countryside and a range of wildlife. And two awesome playgrounds!
You want to see a David Attenborough film of some cute stoats playing together? Of course you do. Yet with every cute video of wild animals comes a darker side, as the video below shows this cutiepie turned vicious killing machine. That’s nature.