Don Balke: Long-tailed Weasel
Artist: Don Balke
With the coming of spring to the Ohio countryside, colorful blossoms fill the air with their delicate perfumes and tender young seedlings push through the melting snows of winter. The forests, meadows and fields are awakened from their deep, cold sleep by the warmth of springtime's sunshine. The woodlands and meadows of Ohio are enriched with the fresh, new life of spring and especially with the arrival of wildlife babies. One of the most interesting wildlife infants that romps along the forest floor is the Long-Tailed Weasel pictured on this Commemorative Cover. Early in the spring, three to nine infants are born in a fur-lined den. The youngsters remain in their cozy home while their mother returns with food from her daily outings. Soon, the young weasels are ready to accompany their parents on their nocturnal adventures. Running and pouncing upon one another, the baby weasels travel with their parents until they learn to hunt. When the young mature -- in about six months -- they will only be about two feet long and weigh a mere three to nine ounces. However, these tiny mammals are cunning hunters who will attack animals several times their size. The diet of the Long-tailed Weasel consists of rats, mice and voles. However, an occasional Long-tailed Weasel will break into a farmer's chicken coop and create a noisy havoc. This little creature is also hunted by coyotes, hawks, and owls. Men also avidly pursue the Long-tailed Weasel whose winter-white coat is extremely valuable.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® commemorative cover for the Baby Wildlife of the 50 States, postmarked March 1, 1984.
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