Whither thou, Weasel?



Have you seen this image…?!  I can’t stop looking at it!  It’s a picture of a weasel riding around on a woodpecker!

When I first saw this, I told myself that maybe they were both having fun, although I couldn’t, for the life of me, imagine how this could be happening with the consent of both creatures.  I told myself, maybe it was a freak accident.  Maybe the weasel just accidentally fell on the bird’s back, somehow.

Well, I was listening to NPR in my car en route to campus (yeah yeah yeah, what a cliche I am, I know), and the talk show host was interviewing the photographer.  The photographer said that the weasel was trying to kill the woodpecker.

All of a sudden, the photo stopped being fun to me.  It turned violent and spooky, like a picture of a bloody crime scene, or a car crash.

I’ve looked closely.  I don’t see any blood on the woodpecker.  The weasel doesn’t seem to be biting it.  Why would a weasel attack a bird that big?  Is a woodpecker its natural prey?

What I want to know is, what happened…?  Did the weasel kill the bird?  Did the woodpecker land on a tree, and the weasel jumped off and ran away?  Did the weight of the weasel cause the bird to fall out of the sky and crash?  How high up were they?

What the fuck…?

5 thoughts on “Whither thou, Weasel?”

  1. Speaking to BBC News, Mr Le-May said he had managed to capture the moment while he was out walking with his wife Ann.

    He said: “I heard a distressed squawking noise and feared the worst.

    “I soon realised it was a woodpecker with some kind of small mammal on its back.

    “I think we may have distracted the weasel as when the woodpecker landed it managed to escape and the weasel ran into the grass.”

  2. Nature is violent and spooky, and we tend to ignore that by anthropomorphizing animals. I first saw the photo on an animal ethics forum, otherwise I would have had the same reaction as you did (and 90% of the Internet).
    Yes, the weasel was trying to kill the woodpecker (on NG – link below – they said one of the weasel´s “signature moves” was severing the victim´s spinal cord) and the bird was running – in this case, flying – for its life. Also, the same article states that when they landed, the weasel was distracted by the presence of the photographer and the woodpecker managed to escape.
    link: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/03/150303-weasels-woodpeckers-animals-science-weaselpecker-photos/

    p.s.: congrats on the new home! I´m one of your lurker-readers who almost never comments, but I do enjoy your writing and wish you well on your journey towards doing that professionally.

  3. Red of tooth and claw. Margo. Red of tooth and claw.


    PS–I like the picture of the parrot at the top of the page.

    1. But I wanted them to be friennnnnnddddddddddds!

      Thanks! I got the parrot pic from the National Geographic website. They have lots of wallpaper images available to download for free.

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