Woman Raises Tiny Baby Weasels Left Behind In Car Engine
They're only the size of a quarter.
A couple in Washington state was just idling in their car, waiting to pick up their kids from school, when all of a sudden another tiny parent popped out of nowhere.
The couple had no idea there was a family of short-tailed weasels nesting in their engine until the mom got spooked and made a run for it, vanishing into the field with the only baby she could carry in her mouth.
They decided to open the car's hood - and found four more little weasel kits curled up, each one as small as a quarter.
Luckily, the family knew just what to do - they contacted wildlife experts at Squirrel Refuge, who took the babies in and then transferred them to A Soft Place To Land (ASPTL), a wildlife rehabilitation center in Graham, Washington, for help.
"They are so amazing!" Jasmine Fletcher Glaze, licensed wildlife rehabilitator and founder of ASPTL, told The Dodo about the four siblings, who were just a couple of weeks old and had to be hand-fed every one to two hours. "They were brought to me as teeny babies, [weighing] only 10 grams."
Weasels are often seen as pests, Glaze said, but they're actually very sweet animals who are beneficial to have around. For instance, a weasel named Norman, who was raised and released last year, still comes back to visit, hunting mice just outside the house and sleeping in his hammock. "He even brought home a wild weasel friend once to play," Glaze said. "He's totally wild and free now and I can't touch him or anything, but I love having him around."
And the family who found the four weasel kits doesn't want them to go far. In fact, after they're old enough, in about two months, Glaze will release them back onto the family's property, where they were born.
It's actually not uncommon for wildlife, such as squirrels, to nest in crevices of cars. And a few precautions can help save lives.
"Checking vehicles regularly can help and if babies are found, people can gently remove babies and place them in a box near the vehicle where mom can retrieve them and move to a new nesting location," Glaze advised. "They can also call the wildlife facility nearest to them for further advice."
Already, the coin-sized baby weasels, who came to the rehabilitation center at the end of March, are growing bigger.
They're even starting to wrestle and play together.
"Their eyes just opened a few days ago and they are now starting to eat some on their own," Glaze said.