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Weasels in the Garden: Part II
You’ll be pleased to hear that at least five of last year’s kits survived to independence and two remained in the garden well in to the autumn. One of these was a male ‘Mr Two Spots’, who I named after the markings under his chin. These could only be seen when he stretched out his neck.
Two Spots and Teasel seemed inseparable – there was no chance at all that Two Spots could have had another female elsewhere. Indeed, in comparison with the brutal courtship I observed last year, between Mr Two Spots mother and his aggressive father, the tender relationship between Mr Two Spots and Teasel was remarkable. And it was Teasel who made all the advances, mounting and mock-matingTwo Spots as he dozed and attempting to stir him to action.
Then, Two Spots seemed to experience a surge of testosterone. His testicles were huge! Purple and so swollen he could barely hold his tail down. His behaviour changed and the two lovers fought. Teasel was evicted and Two Spots’ newfound aggression kept her away from the feeding boxes. However, I was hopeful that having seen all the mating inside the nesting box that Teasel was pregnant and I held my breath for late May when I hoped she would be giving birth to kits inside one of the nesting chambers rigged with cameras.
Scientific research has shown that weasels are induced ovulators – the act of mating stimulates the release of eggs from the ovary. Within weeks Teasel’s belly had swollen. She looked like a string with a very knot in it. You can almost see the kits moving inside her. And now I am awaiting her due date of around 19th June 2016 with baited breath. I’m hoping she gives birth in one of my nesting boxes so that I can see the kits as they arrive. But even if she doesn’t she’s likely to movethem at some point and I will get a chance to look in on the incredible process again.If you are ever up in North Yorkshire – do call into my gallery at Thixendale (see www.robertefuller.com) where you can follow the action for yourselves in the live screens playing in my gallery! The next few months should be incredible.
Hope you enjoyed watching the episode.
Someone recently described my back garden as Weasel Big Brother. I call it Weasel Town myself, but the description is quite apt. Looking back, the tricks I used to photograph and film the weasels when I saw Mr Two Spot’s mother for the very first time were quite archaic compared to the rig up I have now. Then, I relied on a mirror in the garden and a string attached to a piece of wood wired to the food I left the weasel – this set off a bell in my studio.
alterations. I built weasel walkways along logs piles and hedges and even through scaffold pipes and hollow logs. I also built two drystone walls and in front of one I dug a reflection pool as an attractive foreground for my a new painting I’m planning.
And inside is a heat pad. Nothing but luxury for my weasels. After all I want to make sure the weasels stay here.
Read how I first attracted a weasel into my garden here: https://wp.me/p8r2U4-K