Two weekends ago, coming back to Besançon from one of our sites in Fuans, I (Javier) saw a dead stoat on the side of the highway. I returned and I checked the best place to stop safely and walk to the place to take it. Later at the Laboratoire Chrono-Environnement I inspected it. You can see here some pictures. The head was in worse conditions but the rest of the body was OK and the animal seemed to have died in the morning or during the previous night. It only had some eggs of flies and the smell was starting to be strong.
It is a stoat (Mustela erminea) because of the size and because of the black end of the tail, which is not present in the other small mustelid species present in our region, the weasel (Mustela nivalis). The latter however seems to be less abundant in the Franche-Comté region.
Finding individuals of these two species is very valuable for us. First, we will have information from the liver to see whether it was exposed to bromadiolone. In addition, we will get lure from anal sacks, to attract alive small mustelids to our footprint tracking tunnels.
Small mustelids are regarded as specialist predators of voles, and if eating voles affected by bromadiolone treatments, they should also be exposed to bromadiolone. We manage information of bromadiolone use in all the Franche-Comté region so if you find dead small mustelids and they are not very decomposed (see for instance photos) you can contact us and we will be happy to collect them. We are also planning to get individuals from wildlife rehabilitation centres, etc.
In addition, maybe you are interested in having a look to this newly published article of one of my supervisors, Prof. Xavier Lambin. He and the rest of authors use captured American minks to monitor and study the use and exposure to rodenticides to this and potentially to other predators.
Ruiz-Suárez, N., Melero, Y., Giela, A., Henríquez-Hernández, L. A., Sharp, E., Boada, L. D., … Hartley, G. (2016). Rate of exposure of a sentinel species, invasive American mink (Neovison vison) in Scotland, to anticoagulant rodenticides. Science of The Total Environment. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.109