Is it a bird? No, it's a weasel

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The Independent Online
Weasels are the world's animal high-jump champions, say scientists. A "predator Olympics" arranged by animal behaviour scientists at Victoria University, New Zealand, found that stoats can jump to heights of 1.9m (6ft 3in) - outleaping ships' rats, cats and possums.

The intention of the experiment was to decide how high and wide a barrier fence to protect a planned native bird sanctuary in the city should be. The experiments involved a group of local would-be predators in what the scientists were happy to call "ground-breaking" research.

Ships' rats managed 1.7m, feral cats 1.5m and - just missing the bronze - wild possums 1.2m. Eliminated early on were ferrets and Norway rats, defeated at 0.5m, while standard weasels and mice managed only 0.33m.

However, getting in to a sanctuary doesn't necessarily require jumping. Another contest pitted various tunnelling animals against each other - a challenge won by a Norway rat, which dug 0.6m along in the time limit. Charles Arthur

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