Minks

Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management | Resources

Mink in the park (2)
Figure 1. The mink (Neovision vison). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Identification

The mink (Neovision vison, Figure. 1) is a member of the weasel family 

Legal Status

Mink are protected fur bearers in most states, with seasons established for taking them when their fur is prime. Most states, however, have provisions for landowners to control fur bearers which are damaging their property at any time of the year. Check with your state wildlife agency before using any lethal controls.  

Physical Description

It is about 18 to 24 inches in length, including the somewhat bushy 5- to 7-inch tail, and weighs 1½ to 3 pounds. Females are about ¾s the size of males. Both sexes are a rich chocolate-brown color, usually with a white patch on the chest or chin and scattered white patches on the belly. The fur is relatively short with the coat consisting of a soft, dense underfur concealed by glossy, lustrous guard hairs. Mink also have anal musk glands common to the weasel family and can discharge a disagreeable musk if frightened or disturbed. Unlike skunks, however, they cannot forcibly spray musk.  

Species Range

Mink are found throughout North America, with the exception of the desert southwest and tundra areas (Figure 2).  

Figure 2. Distribution of the mink. Image by Stephen M. Vantassel. 

Voice and Sounds

Mink emit various sounds including, defensive screams, squeaks for warning, and hissing. They may chuckle during the mating season.

Tracks and Signs

Tracks of mink are subtle but a careful eye can find them in soft soils around waterways