Fisheries and Land Resources

American Mink

American Mink
American Mink

Mustela vison

Status

Mink are native to Labrador. On the Island, mink are descendent from escapes from fur farms and intentional introductions dating back to 1934.

Habitat

Mink prefer habitat near water, especially wooded - river banks, lakeshores, forest edges, marshes, etc.

Range

Mink occupy all of Canada south of the treeline, Anticosti Island and Queen Charlotte Islands.

Food

Primary food source for mink is small mammals, such as meadow voles, muskrats, and shrews; as well as fish, frogs and salamanders. They will also eat insects, birds and earthworms.

Predators/Threats

Mink have few natural predators, but will be preyed upon by Great Horned Owls, Red Foxes, Coyotes, Wolves, and Black Bears.

Lifespan

From 3 to 6 years in the wild.

Appearance

Mink have a long, slender body with short, sturdy legs and a long neck and pointed face, bushy tail and small ears. The fur is soft and shiny (brown underfur and long, shiny guard hairs) and varies in color from rich brown to almost black; a white patch may be present under the chin. Males are larger than females.

Breeding Biology

The gestation period for mink varies from 40 to 75 days due to delayed implantation, and usually averages 51 days. Litter size varies from 2 to 10, and averages 5. Young are usually born in late April or early May, and remain with the mother until August.

Weight/Measurements

Adult males average (4.5 lbs)(2.07 kg) and are (21 inches)(535 mm) in length; adult females average (2 lbs)(.89 kg) and are (20 inches)(509 mm) in length.

Notes:

  • In late winter, when water levels drop below ice level, a thin layer of air permits the mink to travel widely under the ice, unseen from above.
  • Mink are a valuable fur bearer.
  • Mink are excellent swimmers.
  • They are primarily nocturnal, but also are active during the day.
  • Can hunt as well in water as on land.

At Salmonier Nature Park

  • Due to aggression between animals, the Park has displayed only one animal during the summer.
  • Mink have successfully bred in captivity at Salmonier Nature Park.

 

 
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