Mink are dark-colored, semiaquatic, carnivorous mammals of the genera Neovison and Mustela, and part of the family Mustelidae which also includes weasels, otters and ferrets. There are two extant species referred to as "mink": the American mink and the European mink. The extinct sea mink is related to the American mink, but was much larger. The American mink is larger and more adaptable than the European mink but, due to variations in size, an individual mink usually cannot be determined as European or American with certainty without looking at the skeleton; however, all European mink have a large white patch on their upper lip, whereas only some American mink have this marking: therefore, any mink without the patch is certainly of the American species. Taxonomically, both American and European mink were placed in the same genus Mustela, but most recently, the American mink has been reclassified as belonging to its own genus, Neovison.[1]

The American mink's fur has been highly prized for use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Their treatment on fur farms has been a focus of animal rights and animal welfare[2] activism. American mink have established populations in Europe (including Great Britain) and South America, after being released from mink farms by animal rights activists, or otherwise escaping from captivity.[3] In the UK, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release mink into the wild.[4] In some countries, any live mink caught in traps must be humanely killed.[5]

American mink are believed by some to have contributed to the decline of the less hardy European mink through competition (though not through hybridization—native European mink are in fact more closely related to polecats than to North American mink).[6] Trapping is used to control or eliminate introduced American mink populations.[7]

Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, as well as to treat, preserve and waterproof leather.

American Mink
American mink
(Neovison vison)
Scientific classification

Neovison vison
Neovison macrodon
Mustela lutreola

Europäischer Nerz
European mink
(Mustela lutreola)



The male weighs about 1 kg (2.2 lb) and is about 62 cm (24 in) in length. Farm bred males can reach 3.2 kg (7.1 lb). The female weighs about 600 g (1.32 lb) and reaches a length of about 51 cm (20 in). The sizes above do not include the tail which can be from 12.8 centimetres (5.0 in) to 22.8 centimetres (9.0 in).


A mink's rich glossy coat in its wild state is brown and looks silky, but farm-bred mink can vary from white to almost black, which is reflected in the British wild mink. Their pelage is deep, rich brown, with or without white spots on the underparts, and consists of a slick, dense underfur overlaid with dark, glossy, almost stiff guard hairs.

Breeding and gestation

The breeding season begins in late February and ends in March. Mink show the curious phenomenon of delayed implantation. Although the true gestation period is 39 days, the embryo may stop developing for a variable period, so that as long as 76 days may elapse before the litter arrives. Between 45 and 52 days is normal. There is only one litter per year. They may have between six and 10 kits per litter. Litters as large as 16 have been recorded in fur farms, though they are incredibly rare.


Mink are kept in captivity primarily for the production of their fur. They are often kept in battery cages and frequently exhibit stereotypies. These abnormal, repetitive behaviours increase near their feeding time, specifically pacing and cage biting, both of which are thought to be the captive equivalent of hunting by the mink.[8] Stereotypies have also been noted to increase during human presence.[8]

To attempt to eliminate stereotypies in captive mink, the National Farm Animal Care Council has implemented regulations on incorporating environmental enrichments into mink cages. Enrichments are pen-related alterations or the addition of novel objects to improve the mink's physical and psychological health.[9] Enrichments may help reduce the onset of stereotypies, but rarely decrease or eliminate them. Because of this, enrichments should be introduced early in life as a preventive measure. The National Farm Animal Care Council stated that ‘juvenile female pastel mink raised with access to a nest box performed fewer stereotypies from mid-September to late October than those without access to a nest box.’[10] Due to this, mink have access year round to a nest box and spend the majority of their time resting within. Thus, the availability and quality of the nest box play a large role in the prevention of stereotypies and a role in the animals' welfare.[11]


The maximum lifespan of a mink is usually around ten years, but rarely exceed three years in the wild.[12]


Mink with crayfish at Wascana Lake in Regina Saskatchewan
Mink eating a crayfish

Mink prey on fish and other aquatic life, small mammals, birds, and eggs; adults may eat young mink.[13] Mink raised on farms primarily eat expired cheese, eggs, fish, meat and poultry slaughterhouse byproducts, dog food, and turkey livers, as well as prepared commercial foods.[14] A farm with 3,000 mink may use as much as two tons of food per day. In all, US mink farms use about 200,000 tons of dairy products.[15][16]


Great horned owls, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, wolves, and humans are all natural predators of mink. Mink are often hunted to protect the fish population in lakes and rivers, but are becoming endangered because of this. They are trapped for their fur (though the majority of mink fur on the market comes from fur farms.).

Waterside habits

Mink like to live near water and are seldom found far from riverbanks, lakes and marshes. Even when roaming, they tend to follow streams and ditches. Sometimes they leave the water altogether for a few hundred meters, especially when looking for rabbits, one of their favorite foods. In some places, particularly in Scotland and in Iceland, where they have become a problem, they live along the seashore. Sometimes they live in towns, if suitable water is available. Mink may be present at all hours, even when people are nearby.


Mink are very territorial animals. A male mink will not tolerate another male within his territory, but appears to be less aggressive towards females. Generally, the territories of both male and female animals are separate, but a female's territory may sometimes overlap with that of a male. Very occasionally, it may be totally within a male's.

The territories, which tend to be long and narrow, stretch along river banks, or around the edges of lakes or marshes. Territory sizes vary, but they can be several miles long. Female territories are smaller than those of males.

Each territory has one or two central areas (core areas) where the mink spends most of its time. The core area is usually associated with a good food supply, such as a pool rich in fish, or a good rabbit warren. The mink may stay in its core area, which can be quite small, for several days at a time, but it also makes excursions to the ends of its territory. These excursions seem to be associated with the defense of the territory against intruders. The mink likely checks for any signs of a strange mink and leaves droppings (scat) redolent of its personal scent to reinforce its territorial rights.


Recently, a method ("minkenry") has been developed to use a trained mink (sometimes together with a dog) to kill pest animals such as rats.[17][18] From available sources, the mink used seem to be black or nearly black ("mahogany") or white, from fur farms, and not wild-colored.


  1. ^ "ITIS Standard Report - Error". 27 September 2006. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006.
  2. ^ "Dutch minister reverses battery and mink ban. (Netherlands).(Defeat f…". 29 January 2009. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009.
  3. ^ "Animal rights group claims responsibility for mink release". BBC News. 9 August 1998.
  4. ^ "Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Dispatching a live-caught mink - Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust". Gwct.org.uk. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  6. ^ Lodé, T.; Guiral, G.; Peltier, D. (2005). "European mink-polecat hybridisation events: hazards from natural process?". Journal of Heredity. 96 (2): 1–8.
  7. ^ Haworth, Jenny (3 February 2009) "National cull may exterminate UK mink". Edinburgh. The Scotsman.
  8. ^ a b Mason, G. (1991). "Stereotypies in caged mink". Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 30: 179–180. doi:10.1016/0168-1591(91)90103-5.
  9. ^ "Code of practice for the care and handling of farmed mink". National Farm Animal Care Council.
  10. ^ Finely, G.; Mason, G.; Pajor, E.; Rouvinen, K.; Rankin K. (2012). "Code of practice for the care and safe handling of mink : review". NFACC.
  11. ^ Mononen; et al. (2012). "The development of on farm welfare assessment protocols for fox and mink: the WelFur project". Animal Welfare. 21: 363–371. doi:10.7120/09627286.21.3.363.
  12. ^ Schlimme, Kurt. "ADW: Neovison vison: INFORMATION". Animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  13. ^ Burns, John (2008). "Mink," Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
  14. ^ British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, "Commodity, Mink Archived 11 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine," January 2004.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ "About". wordpress.com. 20 January 2017.
  18. ^ Joseph Carter the Mink Man (30 July 2015). "Mink and Dogs Killing Over 20 Rats!!!" – via YouTube.

External links

American mink

The American mink (Neovison vison) is a semiaquatic species of mustelid native to North America, though human intervention has expanded its range to many parts of Europe and South America. Because of range expansion, the American mink is classed as a least-concern species by the IUCN. Since the extinction of the sea mink, the American mink is the only extant member of the genus Neovison. The American mink is a carnivore that feeds on rodents, fish, crustaceans, frogs, and birds. In its introduced range in Europe it has been classified as an invasive species linked to declines in European mink, Pyrenean desman, and water vole populations. It is the animal most frequently farmed for its fur, exceeding the silver fox, sable, marten, and skunk in economic importance.

European mink

The European mink (Mustela lutreola), also known as the Russian mink and Eurasian mink, is a semiaquatic species of mustelid native to Europe.

It is similar in colour to the American mink, but is slightly smaller and has a less specialized skull. Despite having a similar name, build and behaviour, the European mink is not closely related to the American mink, being much closer to the European polecat and Siberian weasel (kolonok). The European mink occurs primarily by forest streams unlikely to freeze in winter. It primarily feeds on voles, frogs, fish, crustaceans and insects.The European mink is listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered due to an ongoing reduction in numbers, having been calculated as declining more than 50% over the past three generations and expected to decline at a rate exceeding 80% over the next three generations. European mink numbers began to shrink during the 19th century, with the species rapidly becoming extinct in some parts of Central Europe. During the 20th century, mink numbers declined all throughout their range, the reasons for which having been hypothesised to be due to a combination of factors, including climate change, competition with (as well as diseases spread by) the introduced American mink, habitat destruction, declines in crayfish numbers and hybridisation with the European polecat. In Central Europe and Finland, the decline preceded the introduction of the American mink, having likely been due to the destruction of river ecosystems, while in Estonia, the decline seems to coincide with the spread of the American mink.

Fur clothing

Fur clothing is clothing made of furry animal hides. Fur is one of the oldest forms of clothing, and is thought to have been widely used as hominids first expanded outside Africa. Some view fur as luxurious and warm; however, others reject it due to moral concerns for animal rights. The term 'fur' is often used to refer to a coat, wrap, or shawl made from the fur of animals. Controversy exists regarding the wearing of fur coats, due to animal cruelty concerns. The most popular kinds of fur in the 1960s (known as the luxury fur) were blond mink, silver striped fox and red fox. These were mainly bought by the rich. Those who could not afford this wore pelts of wolf, Persian lamb or muskrat. It was common for ladies to wear a matching hat. However, in the 1950s, a 'must have' type of fur was the mutation fur (naturally nuanced colours) and fur trimmings on a coat that were beaver, lamb fur, Astrakhan and mink. To this day, some people consider fur as a trend and wear it.

Fur farming

Fur farming is the practice of breeding or raising certain types of animals for their fur.

Fur used from animals caught in the wild is not considered farmed fur, and is instead known as "wild fur".

Most of the world’s farmed fur is produced by European farmers. There are 5,000 fur farms in the EU, all located across 22 countries; these areas of production collectively account for 50% of the global production of farmed fur.

The EU accounts for 63% of global mink production and 70% of fox production. Denmark is the leading mink-producing country, accounting for approximately 28% of world production. Other major producers include China, the Netherlands, Russia, and the U.S. Finland is the largest United States supplier of fox pelts.

The United States is a major exporter of fur skins. Major export markets include China, Russia, Canada, and the EU. Exports to Asia as a share of total exports grew from 22% in 1998 to 47% in 2002.

China is the largest importer of fur pelts in the world and the largest exporter of finished fur products.Fur farming is banned in Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom,, the Czech Republic (effective in 2019) and Norway. In Germany and Switzerland, the regulations for fur farming are very strict, with the result that there are no fur farms. Some other countries have a ban on fur farming of certain types of animals.

Demand fell in the late 1980s and 1990s because of a number of factors, including the failure of designers to come up with exciting new lines, and the efforts of animal rights campaigners. Since the turn of the millennium, however, sales worldwide have soared to record highs, fueled by radically new techniques for working with fur, and a sharp rise in disposable income in China and Russia. This growing demand has led to the development of extensive fur farming operations in China and Poland.

List of Animaniacs characters

This is a list of characters in the Warner Bros. animated television series, Animaniacs.

Mink Brook

Mink Brook is a 9.5-mile (15.3 km) long stream in western New Hampshire in the United States. It is a tributary of the Connecticut River, which flows to Long Island Sound.

Mink Brook lies entirely in the town of Hanover, New Hampshire. It rises on the western slopes of Moose Mountain and flows west, through the village of Etna, before reaching the Connecticut just north of the Hanover-Lebanon municipal boundary.

Mink Car

Mink Car is the eighth studio album by They Might Be Giants, released on September 11, 2001, on the Restless Records label.

One of the band's most eclectic efforts, its variety reflects its recording process; it was put together in a number of different studios, with a number of different guest artists and producers, around the country as the band toured between 1999 and 2001.

It runs the gamut from pure power-pop songs, such as "Bangs" and "Finished With Lies", to dance music ("Man, It's So Loud In Here"), and soft romantic ballads ("Another First Kiss"). "Man, It's So Loud in Here" was the only single released from the album, though its cover of the Georgie Fame oldie "Yeh Yeh" was featured in a Chrysler car commercial. "Bangs," "Cyclops Rock," "Man, It's So Loud In Here," and "Another First Kiss", as well as "Boss of Me" (which was featured on non-U.S. releases), were released on the band's 2002 anthology compilation Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants.

"Bangs" provided the inspiration for author Zadie Smith's short story "The Girl with Bangs".A complete cover album called Mink Car Cover was constructed in 2011 to raise funds for the FDNY Foundation in the wake of the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that occurred on the day of the album's original release. It featured covers by 19 different artists including Marian Call, The Doubleclicks, Hello, The Future!, and Molly Lewis.

Mink DeVille

Mink DeVille (1974–86) was a rock band known for its association with early punk rock bands at New York's CBGB nightclub and for being a showcase for the music of Willy DeVille. The band recorded six albums in the years 1977 to 1985. Except for frontman Willy DeVille, the original members of the band played only on the first two albums (Cabretta and Return to Magenta). For the remaining albums and for tours, Willy DeVille assembled musicians to play under the name Mink DeVille. After 1985, when Willy DeVille began recording and touring under his own name, his backup bands were sometimes called "The Mink DeVille Band," an allusion to the earlier Mink DeVille.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songwriter Doc Pomus said about the band, "Mink DeVille knows the truth of a city street and the courage in a ghetto love song. And the harsh reality in his voice and phrasing is yesterday, today, and tomorrow — timeless in the same way that loneliness, no money, and troubles find each other and never quit for a minute."

Mink Shoals, West Virginia

Mink Shoals is an unincorporated community along U.S. Route 119 in Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States and can be accessed by Interstate 79, Exit #1. It is located on the Elk River and has a public access site of the Elk River. Its rural-like feel attracts many residents, although it is only slightly over two miles from the Charleston city limits. It is located at an altitude of 571 feet (174 m). It also has an elementary school, Shoals Elementary.

Mink Stole

Nancy Paine Stoll (born August 25, 1947), known professionally as Mink Stole, is an American actress from Baltimore, Maryland. She began her career working for director John Waters, and has appeared in all of his feature films to date (a distinction shared only with Mary Vivian Pearce). Due to her extensive work with Waters, she is considered one of the Dreamlanders, Waters' ensemble of regular cast and crew members.


The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids () are a diverse group and form the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56–60 species across eight subfamilies.

Patsy Mink

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink (竹本 まつ, Takemoto Matsu, December 6, 1927 – September 28, 2002) was an American lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Hawaii. Mink was a third generation Japanese American and member of the Democratic Party. She also was the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Mink served in the U.S. House of Representatives for a total of 12 terms, representing Hawaii's at-large and second congressional districts. While in Congress she was noted for co-authoring the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act.Mink was the first non-white woman and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. She was also the first woman elected to Congress from the state of Hawaii, and became the first Asian-American to seek the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in the 1972 election, where she stood in the Oregon primary as an anti-war candidate. From 1978-81, Mink served as the president of Americans for Democratic Action.

Polecat–mink hybrid

A polecat–mink hybrid, also known as khor'-tumak by furriers and khonorik by fanciers, is a hybrid between a European polecat (Mustela putorius) and a European mink (M. lutreola). Such hybridisation is very rare in the wild, and typically only occurs where European mink are declining. The two species likely began hybridising during the early 20th century, when Northern Europe underwent a warm climatic period which coincided with an expansion of the range of the polecat into the mink's habitat.Polecat–mink hybrids have a poorly defined facial mask, have yellow fur on the ears, grey-yellow underfur and long, dark-brown guard hairs. They are fairly large, with males attaining the peak sizes known for European polecats (weighing 1.12-1.75 kg and measuring 41–47 cm in length) and females being much larger than female European minks (weighing around 0.75 kg and measuring 37 cm in length). The majority of polecat–mink hybrids have skulls bearing greater similarities to those of polecats than to minks. Hybrids can swim well like minks and burrow for food like polecats. They are very difficult to tame and breed, as males are sterile, though females are fertile. The first captive-bred polecat–mink hybrid was produced in 1978 by Soviet zoologist Dmitry Ternovsky of Novosibirsk. Originally bred for their fur (which was more valuable than that of either parent species), the breeding of these hybrids declined as European mink populations decreased. Studies on the behavioural ecology of free ranging polecat–mink hybrids in the upper reaches of the Lovat River indicate that hybrids will stray from aquatic habitats more readily than pure minks, and will tolerate both parent species entering their territories, though the hybrid's larger size (especially the males') may deter intrusion. During the summer period, the diet of wild polecat–mink hybrids is more similar to that of the mink than to the polecat, as they feed predominantly on frogs. During the winter, their diet overlaps more with that of the polecat, and they eat a larger proportion of rodents than in the summer, although they still rely heavily on frogs and rarely scavenge off ungulate carcasses as the polecat does.

Sea mink

The sea mink (Neovison macrodon) is a recently extinct species of mink that lived on the eastern coast of North America in the family Mustelidae, the largest family in the order Carnivora. It was most closely related to the American mink (Neovison vison), with debate about whether or not the sea mink should be considered a subspecies of the American mink (making it Neovison vison macrodon) or a species of its own. The main justification for a separate species designation is the size difference between the two minks, but other distinctions have been made, such as its redder fur. The only known remains are fragments unearthed in Native American shell middens. Its actual size is speculative, based largely on tooth-remains.

The sea mink was first described in 1903, after its extinction; information regarding its external appearance and habits stem from speculation and from accounts made by fur traders and Native Americans. It may have exhibited behavior similar to the American mink, in that it probably maintained home ranges, was polygynandrous, and had a similar diet, though more seaward-oriented. It was probably found on the New England coast and the Maritime Provinces, though its range may have stretched further south during the last glacial period. Conversely, its range may have been restricted solely to the New England coast, specifically the Gulf of Maine, or just to nearby islands. The largest of the minks, the sea mink was more desirable to fur traders and became extinct in the late 19th or early 20th century.

Syrian hamster variations

Colours of the Syrian hamster can be described in three ways: as "self", "agouti" or "combinations". Self colours are a consistent coat colour with the same colour topcoat and undercoat. Agouti hamsters have a different, lighter undercoat and markings around the eyes. Combinations are produced when two (or more) self or agouti colours are present.

That Touch of Mink

That Touch of Mink is a 1962 American Eastmancolor romantic comedy film directed by Delbert Mann and starring Cary Grant, Doris Day, Gig Young and Audrey Meadows.

Tonkinese cat

Tonkinese are a domestic cat breed produced by crossbreeding between the Siamese and Burmese. They share many of their parents' distinctively lively, playful personality traits and are similarly distinguished by a pointed coat pattern in a variety of colors. In addition to the modified coat colors of the "mink" pattern, which is a dilution of the point color (as in watercolors), the breed is now being shown in the foundation-like Siamese and Burmese colors: pointed with white and solid overall (sepia). They are also now designated a natural breed, as their history has now determined them to have been extant since the 14th century.

The best known variety is the short-haired Tonkinese, but there is a medium-haired (sometimes called Tibetan) which tends to be more popular in Europe, mainly in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France.

Willy DeVille

Willy DeVille (born William Paul Borsey Jr., August 25, 1950 – August 6, 2009) was an American singer and songwriter. During his thirty-five-year career, first with his band Mink DeVille (1974–1986) and later on his own, Deville created original songs rooted in traditional American musical styles. He worked with collaborators from across the spectrum of contemporary music, including Jack Nitzsche, Doc Pomus, Dr. John, Mark Knopfler, Allen Toussaint, and Eddie Bo. Latin rhythms, blues riffs, doo-wop, Cajun music, strains of French cabaret, and echoes of early-1960s uptown soul can be heard in DeVille's work.

Mink DeVille was a house band at CBGB, the historic New York City nightclub where punk rock was born in the mid-1970s. DeVille helped redefine the Brill Building sound. In 1987 his song "Storybook Love" was nominated for an Academy Award. After his

move to New Orleans in 1988, he helped spark the roots revival of classic New Orleans R&B. His soulful lyrics and explorations in Latin rhythms and sounds helped define a new musical style sometimes called "Spanish-Americana".DeVille died of pancreatic cancer on August 6, 2009 in a New York hospital. He was 58 years old. Although his commercial success waxed and waned over the years, his legacy as a songwriter has influenced many other musicians such as Mark Knopfler and Peter Wolf.

Extant Carnivora species

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