White On White: An Ermine In Winter

An ermine, also called a weasel, pauses to check out a scent. Sean Hall of Cloquet captured the photo recently on a trail camera. (Sean Hall photo)

Sean Hall of Cloquet, who gets some excellent trail-camera photographs, sent along the one above. Ermine are also called weasels. They’re mostly brown in the summer but turn white in the winter. (Hall’s image was wider in composition. I cropped it to show the weasel more clearly.)

Here’s part of the description of a weasel from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

“Ounce for ounce, weasels are fierce predators. They are excellent mousers, and are efficient at raiding mouse nests. Other foods are new-born rabbits, insects, small birds, and carrion.

“Weasels are deadly, effective hunters. After dispatching their prey, weasels may lap a victim’s blood before eating its flesh. As they feed, weasels usually turn back the skin of an animal. By the time they finish their feast, the skin of their prey is inside-out.”