Can’t resist a slight note of frustration at coming across a picture from 2011 of the first ermine I ever caught on the Chayne. It was a tremendous curiosity at the time, and with only the slightest brown spectacles around her eyes, the female stoat was almost pure white. The huge majority of the stoats I catch are male (by a factor of 9:1) so she was also memorable for her sex as well as her small size. My diary notes that she was 11 inches from nose to tail, while the average female on my patch is more like 13 inches long. By way of comparison, the biggest male I’ve ever caught was 19.5″ and weighed a pound.
Determined not to see the gorgeous ermine go to waste, I sent her to a taxidermist I found online along with a cheque to cover a deposit and while I received confirmation of receipt, I never heard another word from him, despite several frustrated prods and pokes. I have learnt my lesson, but the great pity is that I have never even seen a living stoat as beautiful or as white as this one, let alone have a close look at it.