Weasels, Skunks & Allies (Mustelidae)
Measurement: Size: 55-65 cm Weight: 1.3-1.5 kb
Description: The mink, like the otter, is a semi-aquatic weasel with short legs and partially webbed toes. They have a dark brown coat which varies from brown to black in colour. Often there will be a light patch on the lower lip, chest and lower abdomen.
The mink, while uncommon, is found throughout most of North America, including the Canadian and American Rockies.
Since mink spend much of their time in and about water, they feed on fish, frogs, crayfish, worms, birds, small mammals and some plants and berries. Large males may take the occasional muskrat, snowshoe hare or rabbit.
Like the fisher, male mink are much larger than the female. Mating can be a gruesome affair, with the male viciously biting the female on the neck during a prolonged copulation. Mating will occur repeatedly for several days. After mating, the mink also experiences delayed implantation, although for only a short period. The females give birth in April or May to between 2 and 10 kits. The average litter is around 5.
Notes: The popularity of mink coats over the years has put great pressure on wild stocks. Trappers have decimated many local populations. In the Canadian Rockies, where much of the habitat is protected from trapping, the populations are doing much better than in unprotected habitats.
American Mink sightings
a guide to help you spot some
All Material © Ward Cameron 2005