Congratulations to Sam Darmstadt for winning the November 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a wily weasel received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.
It seems cuteness outweighed the need for a species ID this November when it comes to deciding on the photo observation of the month! The winning observation of a weasel will remain unidentified in all likelihood, as the two possible species in Vermont – the Long-tailed Weasel (Neogale frenata) and the American Stoat (Mustela richardsonii) – are quite similar, and can only be safely differentiated by their tail length. These two species are ferocious predators, capable of taking down prey many times their size. Their pursuit of prey often brings them into contact with humans, and especially during the winter it is not uncommon for a weasel to take up residence in or near a house where mice and kitchen scraps can be a welcome and easily accessible mid-winter food source. This individual though was found and photographed far from human habitation in Vermont’s spruce-fir forest, possibly in search of such large prey as Snowshoe Hare! To see more of Sam’s photos from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, click here.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!