As I drove to work this morning a stoat dashed across the road in front of my car (know a stoat by its black-tipped tail). This was just over the road from the field behind my house, so it was close to home.
Stoats are, of course, members of the Mustelid family, along with badgers, weasels, pine martens, otters and polecats. The name ‘Mustelid’ comes from the latin mustela, meaning weasel. This name in turn comes from two words: mus – mouse, and telum – spear. In other words, mouse-like-a-spear.
It’s a great name. When you see one of these long, slim, lithe creatures running along, it’s a surprisingly good description.
As I drove home after work on Friday I had another stoat cross the road in front of me, on the main road about 100 yards away from the first. I drive to and from work each day for ages without seeing a stoat, and then there’s two in two days. It’s obviously stoat-time…