Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next

 

50   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

advantage to the weasel. He lives by hunting, and to be as white as the snow prevents his intended victims from readily seeing him. The under portion of his body is not exposed, and summer and winter remains unchanged. Where there is little or no snow these animals retain the brown and white all the year. There is some question whether the white is a new hair in the fall, and the brown a new coat in the spring. I think the truth is that the old coat turns rapidly white with cold weather, but this is replaced by a new brown one in the spring. If we got at the roots of this matter of change, it seems to me it would be found that the whitening is due to the cold ; that it serves a good purpose for the animal — is rather a lucky hit for him than a providential purpose. Brutes, as well as other people, find luck in their favor sometimes. If it is providential design, why not bestow it upon our red squirrels and partridges, and all winter birds and beasts? It would be a fine thing for them all. If it were not for this advantage in color, the weasel would not be found among the snow. It is hard enough, as matters stand for him, to make a living, but without this advantage the unequal fight would be useless. This animal is able to stay just because he is helped out by his natural


Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next