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Stoats & Similar
We watched this stoat made a single handed kill of this rabbit on this patch of fallow vegetable bed. From the start of the shrieks of the rabbit to this picture, when the rabbit was dead, took about three minutes. The stoat ran away, but 5 minutes later the rabbit's body had vanished, presumably dragged into the nearby hedge to be eaten.
Like most carnivores there are plusses and minuses. A resident stoat should help keep the rabbits under control, but sadly will raid the nests of Moorhens, Ducks etc.
A much less welcome visitor is this Mink. This is not a native of the UK, but has been farmed here for fur. There have been escapes from fur farms over many years. More recently they have been mass released by animal activists. While ourselves detesting the whole animal abuse scene, we feel these people have not really thought through the full consequences of their actions on British wildlife.
This one bolted into a gap between a water butt (of which there are many - we try to collect all of our rainwater for use in the ponds) and a planter. After appearing for this picture, it backed off and promptly vanished.
On 23 Feb 2005 this Polecat took its own photo 3 times at about 4 a.m. This is the only view of the face showing the facial mask. The mask is rather light and identification has been questioned, but we have a confirmation that it is a genuine Polecat in Winter coat.