Robert Fuller, wildlife artist based in Thixendale, North Yorkshire, has built a gym with trampolines in his backyard to make the leisure time of his children cheerful and fun. Back then he had no idea he shares his property with hedgehogs, owls, foxes, badgers and a group of stoats, with the the latter being quite secretive animals.
It was astonishing for Fuller to see the stoat, who commonly keep to themselves, spend their time outdoors…in his backyard trampoline! “I first noticed a stoat on the trampoline around 2015,” Fuller said. “It had been snowing and I followed the stoat’s pawprints all the way up to the trampoline and all over it, too!”
So Robert made a decision to set up some trap cameras in his backyard and garden so that he could follow the life of stoats during his absence.
“When I developed my camera set-up a few years later, the trampoline was a prime contender for a camera and I soon had exciting clips of stoats bouncing and having fun,” Fuller said. “The stoat kits seem to meet at the trampoline to play and have fun! They seem to like the texture of the material and use it for particularly bouncy fights and stretching.”
Here’s a video of a little stoat enjoying his jumps here:
Robert’s camera recordings showed that it was not only a platform for stoats to enjoy themselves – the trampoline was used by baby stoats as a training ground to practice skills they’ll need as adults.
“The whole children’s climbing frame has been great for the kits to practice their hunting skills and even play a stoat version of hide-and-seek,” Fuller said.
Fuller doesn’t mind sharing his playground with baby stoats — he’s just happy that his creation made a fun habitat for his wild neighbors.