American mink

LIVING HABITS

The American mink is adapted to living by waters. The partially webbed feet and the spindle-shaped build make the mink a graceful swimmer. The minks breed on rocky seashores as well as among coppice by small streams. Adult American minks live alone outside the mating season. The mink is active during dusk and night, and is a very skilled predator both on land and in water, and will even climb a tree when searching for food. The American mink feeds primarily on fish, water birds, their eggs and offspring, frogs and small mammals.

The American mink is not originally a Finnish species. The mink population in Finland originates from the mink introduced for fur breeding purposes from the North America in the 1930’s, and from mink escapees from the said fencings. American minks can be found all over Finland nowadays.

PROTECTION

The American mink is a game animal. The annual amount of minks hunted in Finland is 50 000-60 000 individuals.

ADAPTING TO THE WINTER

The American mink boasts a very thick and warm winter fur, the reason why it has been favoured for fur breeding. The mink feeds mainly on mammals and water birds in the summer; in the winter it feeds mainly on fish, as mammals are hiding under the snow, and water birds have migrated to the south.

American mink

Mustela vison

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ORDER:

FAMILY:

SIZE: Length: 30–46cm, length of tail 13–21cm. Weight: 0,5-1,75kg. Males are notably larger than females.

BREEDING: Heat: first days of spring. Gestation period: 39–77 days and nights; delayed embryonic development, offspring 5-6 at a time. Independent in 4 months, sexual maturity the next spring.

LIFESPAN:

Did you know that the American mink conquered Finland fairly quickly? Its small size, great adaptability to various environments, and ability to feed on both fish and mammals, reproduction of 5-6 young ones at a time, favoured the wide distribution in the country? An additional reason for the increase in the American mink population was the sudden decline in its rival’s population, namely, the European mink.