28 July 2013

Don't See That Every Day

Rabbits don't usually run toward moving vehicles, but one ran toward mine today.

I was returning on a dirt road from a fishing trip, and a large, brown rabbit jumped from the bushes on the left and sprinted at the truck. This seemed quite odd, and I figured that something must be chasing it, but I couldn't see anything.

The rabbit continued past the truck, hardly paying any attention to it, and I began looking for a pursuer (I was expecting a coyote). Next, I saw what initially looked like a chipmunk in the area from which the rabbit had emerged. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a weasel. It was jumping back and forth from the bushes to the road.

Although I was surprised that a weasel would attack a rabbit more than twice its size, I was pretty sure it was what had flushed this rabbit. Before driving by, I noted the weasel's reddish-brown fur and black-tipped tail.

The black tail tip helped me identify later as a long-tailed weasel, a species that I learned often attacks animals larger than itself.

I see rabbits quite often, but weasel sightings are rare for me, and I had no idea they kill adult rabbits. Seeing this part of the life cycle play out was an opportunity that I may never have again, but I will certainly not forget it.

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