Mink are part of the mustelid family. These animals live alone along riverbanks and
What do mink look like?
They have dark brown fur with a light colored patch of fur on their throat. Mink are
long and slender and they move gracefully under water. The males are longer than females
and they are usually between 16-29 inches. Their tails are quite long and bushy and make
up about 1/3 of the minks length. Mink weigh between 1 ½ pounds and 3 ½ pounds.
What do mink eat?
Mink prefer to eat muskrats but will also eat crayfish, fish, frogs, small snapping
turtles, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and even rabbits. They will eat as much food as
possible at the sight of their kill and then they save the rest in caches back at their
Where are mink found?
Mink are found in most of the United States except for southern California, Arizona,
western Texas, and southern New Mexico and Utah. They live near fresh water.
Did you know that mink dive down as far as 16 feet?
Mink are excellent swimmers and they spend much of their time hunting in ponds and
along riverbanks. The males mark their hunting territory with a foul smelling odor
secreted from their glands. A males territory overlaps with several female
When do mink mate?
Mink are loners except for during the mating season. They mate between January and
April and the young are born in April or May. The litters are between 1-10 young. When the
young are born they weigh between ¼ oz and 3/8 oz! They nurse for the first 5-6 weeks of
life. The young stay with their mother until the fall.
Did you know that most mink that are used for the fur trade are raised on farms?
It takes 75 adult mink furs to make a full-length mink coat! Most of these animals come
from mink farms where they are raised for their fur. The popularity of fur has declined
over the years as people have learned the number of animals that are killed just to make
What are some signs of mink activity?
Look for crayfish parts that have been discarded by mink along the shoreline. Also look
out for mink dens which have openings 4 inches wide along the stream banks. In the winter,
mink will leave depressions in the snow where they have chased after prey. Their droppings
are usually left on rocks or logs and are long cylindrically shaped. Bones and fur can
often be seen on the droppings.
Stensaas, M. 1993. Canoe country wildlife: a field guide to the north woods and
Boundary Waters. Pfeifer-Hamilton, Duluth, MN.
Whitaker, J.O. 1996. National Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals.
Alfred A. Knopf, New York.