SABATTUS — John W.L. Berry had nothing against the weasel personally.

“It was cute,” he said. “But it was in my house.”

The weasel, a pure-white creature with a black-tipped tail, got into Berry’s house early Wednesday, but it was not there long. The ermine was caught and killed by Berry’s cat, Polly, a coon Berry had just taken in from the cold in December.

Meanwhile in New Gloucester, Ellie Fellers was home having supper Friday night when a weasel made its way into her house and introduced itself.

“They’re so cute,” Fellers said. “But they’re ferocious.”

Fellers, who works as a correspondent for the Sun Journal, used bait to tempt the weasel out of the house. Fellers then shut the door behind the critter.


“We thought we were done,” she said.


At about 11 p.m., as Fellers was kicking back for the evening, another weasel crept right into her TV room on its way to forage for chow.

“It looked at me and then ran around the bookcase and scampered away,” Fellers said. “It was extremely frantic. We found him or her in the kitchen climbing over the cupboards, obviously starving and searching for food.”

Starving indeed.

Rich Burton, an animal control officer and trapper, said weasels are often abundant this time of year as they go searching for food — fresh meat, in particular.


“They are this way every year,” Burton said Wednesday. “They are just hunting mice. I’ve had two calls today for weasels.”

Burton said he uses bloody bait, weasel lure and very small traps to capture and remove the critters from houses they have invaded. Some people do not mind having the creatures around because they so effectively control the mouse population.

“They are the best free mouse control there is,” Burton said.

The problem, though, is that the slaughter does not always stop with mice.

“Weasels are killing machines,” Burton said. “They kill chickens for fun.”

Just like they are portrayed in cartoons, weasels are sneaky, curious and limber creatures that can slither into a house through the tiniest of cracks and crevices.


“It seems they can get into the smallest spaces,” Berry wrote. “If a mouse can get in, they can get in.”

In New Gloucester, Fellers was able to tempt the second weasel out of her house by leading a trail of food to the door and then slamming said door shut when the creature walked out.

In Sabattus, the weasel that invaded Berry’s house Wednesday did not harm any of Berry’s chickens, as they are known to do. That is possibly because it never got a chance before Polly the coon cat took it down.

According to Berry, Polly had been living in the woods near his house since someone dumped it there last summer. When the temperature dropped into single digits in December, Berry trapped the cat and brought it inside, where she has thrived since as a 17-pound house cat that does not mind taking on an invading predator when called upon.

“Polly survived in the woods and now I know how,” Berry wrote. “She is formidable.”

Polly survived the encounter without a scratch.


In other areas, several homeowners reported being overrun by mice this winter while a handful were being vexed by more exotic creatures.

“We had a flying squirrel that made its way into the cupboard and chewed up much of the woodwork,” said Bonnie Waisanen of Auburn. “We found the entry way — after a bit of searching for it — and blocked it and he has not returned.”

And then there are those who see a little bit of everything come winter. In Buckfield, Jessica Ayers said she trapped roughly a dozen flying squirrels, only to have a weasel sneak into the trap to attack one of them.

They do not call them weasels for nothing.

Polly the coon cat, who defended her Sabattus home Wednesday morning against an invading weasel.John W.L. Berry, attempting to photograph a weasel wandering near his garage Wednesday in Sabattus.

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