American Mink (Mustelavison)

American Mink are members of the weasel family and are often mistaken for Otters.They love the water and spend much of their time swimming and hunting in nearby waters. They can dive as deep as 16 feet and swim underwater for as long as 100 feet. We have been fortunate enough to see some living near Beardsley Park in the Pequonnock River. These nocturnal animals are solitary except during mating season. They mark their territories with a musky, foul-smelling spray much like a skunk spray, but they cannot aim their spray like a skunk.

Description: 

An American Mink is approximately two-feet long. They are sleek with a long neck and short stubby legs ending in slightly webbed feet. Their most prominent feature is their long thick tail which can be as much as a half of the mink’s body. Their silky fur is black and dark brown except for patches of white on its chin and throat. Males are longer than the females and weigh slightly more. They weigh between 25 and 56 ounces. They have excellent vision, hearing and smell. They are quiet animals that communicate mainly through scent although they have been known to purr when happy.

Habitat: 

They live in forests with bodies of water. They like to be near streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, or even marshes.The dig burrows near the banks of water or use dens abandoned by other small animals. They line them with grass, leaves and the fur of past prey.

Range: 

They can be found in the northern United States and Canada.

Diet: 

Carnivore. Small rodents, birds, fish, snakes, and frogs. If the prey is too large for one meal, they will store the extra food in a den.

Life Span: 

The average life span is 10 years in the wild.

Family Life: 

Breeding season is between January and April. Gestation period of 40-75 days. Females give birth to three to eight young in a nest lined with fur in the spring. The "cubs" or "kits" are weaned at five to six weeks and are independent between 6 and 10 months. Males do not assist with the raising of the young.

Status: 

Least Concern.