Common name: American Mink

Scientific name: Neovision vision

Author: Grayson Vinkle

Photos: by D. Young

Size range: 34 – 35cm (just over a foot long), 0.5 – 1.0kg 

Identifying Features   There are many identifying features of the mink. The tail of a mink makes up ⅓ of its body length, their fur is brown-black with white on the chest, chin and throat areas. They also have an oily outer coat which is waterproof. Their toes are partially webbed which allows them to swim and their front toes can look quite large and distinct as seen in the image on the right. Females are typically smaller than males. 

Habitat  Minks have a bunch of different habitats. They can be found in most of Canada and the US, except Arizona. They prefer forested areas close to water with bushes or rocky areas.  They spend a lot of time living on their own, especially the males. They use old dens of other creatures but they can also make dens on water banks, lakes, streams and old logs.  Around the Pacific Northwest mink are often quite at home living along the shoreline.  They will often have dens near rocky shorelines where they will spend a large portion of time swimming in the ocean.  

Prey  Mink are aggressive predators and get their food from a variety of sources. Along the shore they often eat Dungeness and Red Rock crabs. They dive down and take the crab to the surface and then swim to the shore to eat.  They have often been observed around Victoria taking crabs that are huge relative to the mink and appear to wrap their legs around the whole minks head as the mink heads to shore.   In other habitats they are known to eat crayfish, small frogs, rodents, and birds eggs.

Predators  Mink have a number of natural predators including coyotes, bobcats and raptorial birds.  Around the Pacific Coast their predators include the Bald Eagle as well as owls.

Life Cycle  Females are fertile in winter  and may mate with more than one male.  She will have one to eight offspring and the baby mink are called kits. The female’s pregnancy lasts 40 to 75 days.

Fun Facts  European minks are smaller than American minks.  Babies are weak and blind and can’t survive without their mothers for the first 6 weeks.  Babies are fully matured between 12 and 16 months.  Females can delay the development of fertilized eggs if the weather is bad.

References 2021. American Mink – Mustela Vison – Natureworks. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 January 2021].

Web, A., 2021. Biokids – Kids’ Inquiry Of Diverse Species, Neovison Vison, American Mink: INFORMATION. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 January 2021].

Havahart. 2021. Minks Facts | Facts About Minks | Havahart® US. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 January 2021]. 2021. American Mink – Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures On Animalia.Bio. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 January 2021]. 2021. Mink Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 January 2021].

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