The mink is the most common water mammal predator (meat eater) in Minnesota. It can be found in nearly every wetland, lake, and creek in the state, including those in cities and towns. The mink is a versatile predator. Lithe and agile, it pursues its prey on land and in water. It can swim and dive with ease and remain underwater for many minutes. Identification General description: A small, brown predator with small rounded ears, a white or yellow bib on its chest, and whitish belly. The legs of a mink are short, but its body is long. Its fur is highly prized for coats and jackets. Its pelt is soft, thick, and silky, mixed with long, glossy, guard hairs. Length: Adults are 14 to 20 inches long, including a 5- to 9-inch tail. Weight: Adults weigh 2 to 4 pounds. Color: Light to dark brown, with a white- to cream-colored underside.
Food Mink eat just about any type of animal that lives in and near water, including fish, frogs, ducks, crayfish, eggs, lizards, grubs, earthworms, mice, and muskrats. Predators Except for otters, mink have few natural predators. However, they often die from parasites and diseases. Habitat and range Mink are found throughout Minnesota, though lakeshore and riverfront developments have reduced their populations. Wherever there is water, there are likely wild mink. However, some chemically polluted waters containing mercury or PCBs somehow sterilize mink so that they cannot reproduce. They are nocturnal and rarely seen. In winter, however, their tracks are often encountered on frozen marshes where mink travel from one muskrat house to another while hunting.
I was at the public landing on Leech Lake in Walker MN to photograph an Otter who was hunting near some open water. Suddenly this Mink ran right in front of me and I was hardly prepared to photograph it! All I caught were these two images with no time to even focus. My first ever sighting of a wild American Mink (it was 20 below zero this day as well)!
Spotted on Feb 27, 2012
Submitted on Jun 27, 2013