My Bantam Lake

American Mink

Written on 06/28/2018


Neovison vison

Although mink are found throughout North America, they tend to frequent forested areas that are in close proximity to water. Streams, ponds, and lakes, with some sort of brushy or rocky cover nearby are considered optimal territory. Mink fur is usually dark brown with white patches on the chin, chest, and throat areas. The fur is soft and thick, with oily guard hairs that waterproof the animal's coat. The body is long and slender with short legs and a pointy, flat face. The toes are partially webbed, showing the mink's semi-aquatic nature. Body length is usually around 610 mm with up to half of this length being the tail.Mink are primarily solitary animals, with males being particularly intolerant of one another. They mark the boundaries of their home range using musky secretions from enlarged anal glands. They are mostly active at night, especially near dawn and dusk. Mink are also skilled swimmers and climbers. Mink dig their burrows in the banks of rivers, lakes and streams, or they may utilize the old dens of other mammals, such as muskrats. Mink may line the interior of their home with dried grass and leaves, as well as with the fur from past prey. The diet of mink varies with the season. During the summer it consists of crayfishcrayfish and small frogsfrogs, along with small mammals such as shrewsshrews, rabbits, mice, and muskratsmuskrats. Fish, ducks, Fishducand other water fowl provide additional food choices. In the winter, they primarily prey on mammalsmammals. Mink have few natural enemies. They are occasionally killed by coyotesbobcats and other carnivores, but their main threat remains humans.

 

Source: Neovison vison, American Mink, Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology