American Mink

American Mink
Credit: Peter Trimmings

Name

  • Common name: American Mink
  • Scientific name: Neovison vison
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Mustelidae

Also known as

Mink

Viewing opportunities

  • With their nocturnal lifestyle, mink are seldom seen by people. Look for it near wetlands, lakeshores, forest edges and stream banks in early morning or evening.

Description

  • Long, lithe weasel body sheathed in short, sleek fur.
  • Fur is typically dark brown.
  • Long guard hairs have oily sheen for amphibious lifestyle.
  • Short, sturdy legs with slightly webbed paws.
  • Long, furred tail.
  • Small, dark ears help distinguish it from a marten which as large pale ears.

Fast facts

  • Length: 40 cm
  • Weight: 0.5 to 1.5 kg
  • Lifespan: 3 to 6 years
  • Predators: Black Bears, wolves, lynx, Coyotes, Red Foxes, Great Horned Owls, Northern River Otters
  • Habitat: Flowing water

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S5 (Secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population status

Not determined

Behaviour

Mink are a semi-aquatic nocturnal weasel that will occupy abandoned burrows, usually hidden by dense vegetation. They are solitary except during mating season and are very aggressive, often fighting larger opponents over food. They are strong swimmers and can dive to catch crayfish and fish.

Food

Muskrat, mice, Snowshoe Hares, fish, frogs and ducklings.

Distribution

American mink distribution map

Sights and sounds

American Mink track, front.
American Mink track, front: 4.3 x 4.5 cm.
American Mink track, hind.
American Mink track, hind: 4.5 x 4.8 cm.

Tracks on snow.
Tracks on snow.

Mink and people

  • In the 1930s several mink farms were established in Yukon but they are no longer present today.
  • Fewer than 200 wild mink are trapped in Yukon each year.