“Pop goes the weasel…” ~old nursery rhyme
Don’t you just love how biologists call all of the fun things they do, “studies”. Lends an air of distinction to just having fun with wilderness.
In biologist lingo, small mammals are, well, just that – the small furry critters that biologists study (ordinary people might call them mice) that are so important to our world for numerous reasons. They serve as an indicator of various habitat types and provide information on the health of those systems, as well as provide a vital food source for our birds of prey and mammalian predators (this little short tailed weasel is just one of the camp residents who depends on the mice in the area for food).
But in our case here on the ranch, we also use the term to include several of the small furry residents (smaller than coyotes and bears, anyway) that our guests find so fascinating, including our yellow-bellied marmots (who inhabit the talus rock slopes above camp), the bunnies (who live under the cook tent), the chipmunks and squirrels (who raise their babies in camp), and the short-tailed weasel who chases them all around.
And we can't ignore all the "big" furry critters as well. Our mule deer are very used to people (we have a doe who gives birth to her fawns in our yard every year) so being able to sit and watch them less than a stones throw away as they go about their "deer" business is common place. We also have coyotes, bears, elk, lions, and even the occasional wolf just for starters - some of which you'll see here, and some we'll learn by their tracks.
So come along and we'll take some in depth looks at who shares this world with us, quite literally in our own backyard.