American Mink

The American Mink is the cutest member of the weasel family. The name mink has been derived from a Swedish word ‘meank’. They are native to North America. Since they come from a weasel family they are akin to many weasels with similar physique. They are usually harvested for their furs which are of excellent quality and color.

Scientific Classification

Neovison vison

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

Neovison vison


The American Mink have a long slender body which is around 12-22 inches (30-55 cm) long. They have short webbed legs which make them an excellent swimmer. The little minks have a long tail and its tail itself comprises of one-third of its body. It has thick glossy hair usually brown to black in color throughout its body and a patch of white under the chin and throat. The soft furs of the minks are covered with waterproof oily hair.

Naming of the American Mink

The baby minks are called ‘cub or kit’; the female minks are called ‘sow’ and the male minks as ‘boar’.


The minks originated in North America, and American Minks are found throughout the United States and Canada except for few places on the tundra and southwestern USA like Arizona, Hawaii, Southern New Mexico, southern and central Utah, western Texas and southern California.


American Mink Picture

Picture 1: American Mink


The American mink is a semi aquatic animal and it spends a lot of time inside water hunting for preys. They are nocturnal animals however are active throughout the year. The mink are solitary animals that mark and recognize their territories with the smell. They are carnivorous animal and hunt preys bigger than themselves. The minks usually live alone and are with their partner only during breeding seasons. When the minks are threatened they usually snarl and hiss and release a scent that also advertises its territory with the other minks and they purr like a cat when they are happy.


The minks are semi aquatic animals and hence are found in wetland environment, usually near the streams, rivers or any other water bodies. The mink population at a particular area depends on the food available for them at that area. The minks move in to the huts and burrows of the muskrats and other occupants if they are empty or just hunt down the occupants. The minks also live in the cavities made by the stream or the trees.

Life Cycle

The average life span of a wild mink would be a year to 3 years. This statistics however comprises of the younger minks that easily fall prey to the predators or die of disease or starvation. Once they reach the adulthood and are capable enough to hunt their food, they may live up to four years to seven years. However the domestic minks may live for longer period.


American Minks mating season starts from February to April. The male and the female minks have several partners. The female gives birth by late April or early May. When the mating season starts, the male minks wander far away in search of females. It takes almost a month for the fertilization and implantation of the eggs, gestation period would be around 51 days.

Young American Mink Picture 2: Young American Mink



Minks are carnivorous animals. They are nocturnal animals and hunt mostly during night but are also active during the day. The American minks are aggressive predators and often hunt down animals bigger than themselves. They hunt variety of prey from aquatic animals to terrestrial habitat. Since they are good swimmers, they dive and catch fishes and feed on muskrats, rabbits, frogs, chipmunks and snakes etc. They kill their prey by biting them on their throat.


The American Mink have a bounding gait and can swim and climb trees. They can swim for up to three hours in warm water but cannot sustain cold water for very long.

Senses and Scent Glands

The eyesight of the mink is better on land than in water. They rely heavily on their auditory glands when hunting for preys. However they have comparatively weak sense of smell.


The predators of the wild American minks are wolves, foxes, great horned owls etc.


The American Mink fur is more glossy and silky than of its cousin, the European Mink. Their fur color varies from brown to black and a patch of white below the chin and throat. The soft fur is covered by the oily hair which is waterproof. The furs of American Mink are very attractive due to its superior quality and color.

The minks molt twice in a year, once in April and then in August or September.

Pictures of American Mink

Picture 3: American Mink Picture


Fur Use

The American Mink fur has a superior quality and color due to which it is in great demand in manufacturing coats, caps and jackets.


American mink were in great demand for its superior quality fur and hence harvesting the wild minks became insufficient. Therefore in the late 19th century, they started breeding the American mink for its fur. By 2005 America became the fourth largest producer of American mink fur after Denmark, China and Netherlands. Once the minks give birth to their young once in May, they are harvested in November and December.

As Pets

American Minks have been kept in farms for almost a century for breeding however they can also be tamed if caught young. They can dominate the cats and drive the rats away from the rat holes. The minks are intelligent animal but take a long time to be tamed.

Decline of the Wild Mink

The domestic minks are bigger in size than the wild minks. When the domestic minks escape into the wild from the fur farms, it causes problem with the wild mink population and the ecosystem. If the mink population is over flooded, they reduce the number by either killing the other minks or chasing them out of the territory.


The American minks can kill snakes as well but they do not eat them.

American Minks

Picture 4: American Mink


The American minks are listed as the least concerned category, they are found abundant in Northern United States and Canada except in tundra region and the southwestern USA.

42 thoughts on “American Mink

  1. Richard Shumway says:

    while my family and i were camping on Durand Island in the Mother Bunch on Lake George this past week, we watched a Mink working the shoreline of the island. it was so bold that it ran right in front of my grandson, almost across his feet.
    it seemed to be as curious about us as we were it. very cool.

  2. jessica patterson says:

    i love minks but i think some of the facts are not true who is with me

  3. Andrea says:

    Yeah, I agree. Minks will basically kill anything, and will eat snakes.

    1. jeramiah says:

      no they don’t i saw a mink kill a snake and did not eat it

    2. Felix says:

      So they will kill a rhino?

  4. ciera hacker says:

    they are so cute i want one NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Ciera says:

    The baby mink is adorable!!! I want one but my parents wont let me! but hopefuly they surprize me and get me one anyways. They are just so darn cute!! :~D

  6. Judee says:

    I have been visiting our family camp about 20 miles south of Watertown NY on Lake Ontario for over 40 years. Since I was a young kid. Until this summer I had neither heard of or seen mink. But this summer they have taken up residence and I couldn’t be happier. The last few years we have had an abundance of water snakes make this area their home. So whether mink eat snakes or just kill them I am happy nature is addressing the problem! I have yet to research if mink carry rabies. This area has history of foxes carrying the disease. Most of us along the lake shore have pets so I am curious about that. Oh and snakes, I found out the hard way, will live in a bird house!

  7. cheryl says:

    We have one that is in my rock garden/pond! He swims in my pond in the mornings and is very curious for sure! Just hope he dont eat all my wild birds 🙁

  8. Lynne Dobson says:

    Would it be possible that my friend and I spotted several mink on a bank and swimming in a Yorkshire canal? Looked through many images on internet and these are the only ones that match

  9. Emma Andrews says:

    I have a friend who is getting a mink as a pet for his three children 3,6 7. Is it a good idea for these children to have a mink for a pet. What is the danger or drawbacks. Thanks Emma

    1. Devin says:

      Terrible idea for children. Start with a ferret. Mink are wild animals and take a very experienced owner to tame and train one. Imagine a ferret with the strength of a raccoon and the agility of a mongoose. That is a mink. If frightened it could easily fuck a little kid up. Completely rip off fingers kind of fucked up. I wouldnt recommend a mink to anyone under 12-14, and thats assuming that young teenager is very experienced with potentially aggressive animals. If you know what you are doing however, and train them well. They can be very rewarding pets. Just remember they are literally one of the most badass animals on this earth pound for pound.

    2. Felix says:

      DO IT MAN!!!

  10. Ken Metzger says:

    I set a trap( the catch and release typr) to trap some muskrats that are destroying the bank of my 1/2 acre pond, I was saddened to find out that I had instead trapped what I believe to be a mink. looks like the pictures on line. I baited the trap with carrots ! Is it possible that mink eat carrots? If I did catch a mink which was dead when I checked the trap(been very cold at night)did I kill the thing that might have killed the muskrats ?

  11. alec says:

    last night i was visited by a mink,it came in through the cat/flap and ran into the kitchen,my cat heard it and chased it into a bedroom,then i picked up a broom and very gently encoureged it to disapeared into the back garden.very cute animal,but i know they bite.hope it comes back.

    1. Felix says:

      And very “gently” encouraged it to leave.

  12. Mark Doyle says:

    Hi there i trap MINK and they do live in Family groups as i got 3 in the same spot nearly to the foot they are killing machines and stink to great to get 3 out of the way the males make a loud screaching noise in the cage the female is so quiet in the cage grooming herself like a cat they fear nothing look nice a shame about the damage they do

  13. Heather h says:

    Will a mink attack a cat?

    1. Felix says:


  14. Dani says:

    A single mink killed seven full sized hens and took two bantam hens in one single night! They are killing machines! I don’t care if it’s cute – as soon as we catch it, it’s dead!

  15. Nicole Matthews says:

    A mink actually just ate my chicken today

    1. doug says:

      ive had a mink kill my best show rooster before

  16. Sharon Holowaychuk says:

    There is one living under my deck in Victoria, Canada

  17. Kiko Anderson says:

    Mink are fine in their native hqbitat but escaped mink in Tierra del Fuego are invasive exotics without predators who are wiping out several species of bird. We believe it was them that killed 7 of the 15 adult King penguins in one night on our nearby beach in southern TdF. We’re now setting traps but they’ll be hard to eradicate. Any suggestions welcomed.

  18. Mink Lover says:


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  19. Jim Baker says:

    I saw a mink cross a nearby bike path. It looked so funny walking-like a giant inch worm. It’s tail was the same length as it’s body. His front legs were far from it’s rear legs and when it moved he looked like a sideways question mark.

  20. C.A. Gritter says:

    Sitting on a bench on the bank of the Charles River in Watertown, MA, I saw rustling in the rocks and undergrowth. Suddenly, up periscoped the head and long neck of a mink. I watched it through my binoculars. The white under its chin confirmed that it was a mink. I was surprised and delighted to see this beautiful creature for a few minutes in the middle of a late summer afternoon.

  21. Woody says:

    My wife saw a mink on our deck today in Greenville Maine.

  22. trevor says:

    minks are so awsome! 🙂

  23. peyton kerkhoff says:

    i think minks are the ugliest thing that walk this earth.i have one that has been eluding me and i want this one dead. p.s. peyton

    1. Felix says:

      Kill it man!

  24. edward swinnerton says:

    What can one do to protect chickens from minks’. They are in a chain link fence-do I need to wrap chicken wire around the lower portion of the yard or will they just climb over. Can the climb fences” I read they can climb trees? Any advice is appreciated.

    1. doug says:

      well I had a mink get into my coop before. what you have to do is seal every hole because if a mink finds a spot that their head can fit through they will get in. they also can climb very well

    2. marguerite illing says:

      Did anyone give you ideas on protecting your chickens? I just had one grab a squirrel by its tail right in front of my hen house, made quite a rukus. Chickens, peacocks and turkeys all holloring with the squirrel. He let him go, but was all bloody.

    3. Tom says:

      Half inch mesh wire covering everything, so they can’t get in, amazing the small hole the can fit in

    4. Barb says:

      Yes they can go through the chain link fence! One was just at my house and killed 15 chickens and 5 ducks! Looked like a murder seen! The mink broke their necks and moved on to the next one!! It was awful. They are very mean.. They will spray an awful stink too!

  25. Kathryn Avery Sipe says:

    This web site is the best site ever

  26. Bob P says:

    we have a half acre pond with about 50 stocked bass anywhere from 6 in to 14 in. Over past 2 yrs the numbers declined to about 4 or 5 bass . We had no winter kill in last 2 yrs . I cannot catch anything in the act of this robbery . Mink maybe ? How do i catch this culprit !

  27. Tiffany says:

    This was very informative. And I appreciate all of the additional comments. Thank you!

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