These cute, adorable, and furry American minks come from the Mustelids family of the mammal class of animals. The scientific name of American minks is 'Neovison vison', and they are medium-sized animals about 12–20 in) (30–50 cm) tall and weigh about 0.8-3 lb (400-1600 g). Males are normally heavier. Americal minks prefer wetlands and are found near rivers, lakes, and wet grasslands. They have short legs and sharp teeth, which help them swim and hunt small fish in lakes and rivers. There are two species of minks: American minks are usually found in North America and European minks are seen in many European nations. They have fur that's black, brown, and sometimes gray and white in color. The average litter size is of seven young ones known as 'kits'. American minks are dangerous animals and prefer living alone, but the kits live with a parent mink for the first 10 months of their life, until their diet stabilizes and they become old enough to protect themselves.
Learn about more interesting animals with our guides to the mink and the badger.
What do they prey on?
Muskrats, chipmunks, mice, birds, rabbits, fish, snakes, frogs, and waterfowl
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
Male: 1-3 lb (0.5-1.6 kg) Female: 0.8-1.7 lb (400-780 g)
How long are they?
Male: 13-14 in (33-35 cm)
Female: 12-14 in (30-35 cm)
How tall are they?
12-20 in (30-50 cm)
What do they look like?
Brown and black
What are their main threats?
Habitat loss and improper chemical disposal
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Rivers, wetlands, coastal and marshlands
American Mink Interesting Facts
What type of animal is an American mink?
American minks are small mammals that are semi-aquatic and are most active at dawn and dusk. Minks are classified into two categories: American mink and European mink. American minks belong to the Mustelids family of the Animalia kingdom and prefer living near lakeshores and river banks.
What class of animal does an American mink belong to?
The American mink (scientific name: Neovison vison) is of the mammal class and belongs to the genus Neovison. They are small animals found in North and South America. In Europe, you can spot wild Europen Minks, this is one of the species of minks that are now endangered.
How many American minks are there in the world?
According to the IUCN, American minks are found in different regions of America and are classified as Least Concern as the population of these minks is stable. There are approximately 25,000 European minks in Europe and less than 30,000 of them all over the world. There is no data provided on the exact American mink population. They are wild semi-aquatic mammals, and the American mink range spreads across North and South America, a certain amount of this population escaped from fur farms and out into the wild .
Where does an American mink live?
The American mink is an invasive species that usually prefers living in wet and moist areas, which is why they are known as small semi-aquatic wild mammals. A typical mink habitat is known to be near water bodies such as lakes. They live there in a den which they construct by themselves. Minks are found in 47 North American states and all Canadian provinces.
What is an American mink's habitat?
The American mink (Neovison vison) is a cat-sized small mammal from the Mustelids family. They prefer living in wet, moist, and cold forested areas and the American mink is one of many semi-aquatic mammals with a stable population status. A typical American mink habitat is found near bodies of water, such as rivers, streams, ponds, or lakes that have good vegetation nearby. They construct their own homes by digging a den in a hollow place and they are also spotted living in coastal and marshy areas. Minks originate from North America and parts of South America. European Minks, however, are only found in Europe and are commonly found in the UK, including in Wales and Scotland.
Who does American minks live with?
Minks usually prefer living alone and it is very difficult and rare to find minks in groups. They pair up during the breeding season and only come together in groups during this season. Young minks live with their families until they are old enough to defend their own territories and protect themselves from predators. Males and females both live separately, but after the young are born, they take care of them in a group.
How long does an American mink live?
North American minks have an average lifespan of 10 years, but they can exceed that to live up to 13 years.
How do they reproduce?
One of the most interesting North American mink facts is that the mating process of minks is quite violent. The mating season takes place in late February or early March, mostly in winter or late spring. Males and females both mate with many partners during this short period. The males disown female minks after mating and the mating is very violent as males usually bite females on the nape of their neck and pinch them continuously with their forefeet. The average litter size of these minks is seven young, and they typically give birth in April or May. The gestation period is about 40 to 75 days. The babies live with the female mink for a period of 10 months until they become strong enough to protect themselves.
What is their conservation status?
American mink distribution is seen all over North America and South America. There are also over 100,000 American minks in Great Britain today, although this number has been greatly diminished over the last 25 years. American Minks were first introduced to the British Isles into fur farms, but gradually their population spread all across the UK, including in Scotland and Wales as many escaped from fur farms and went on to breed in the wild. This is how they became an invasive species. The population of minks is currently stable in the United States, and according to the IUCN, they fall in the category of Least Concern.
American Mink Fun Facts
What do American minks look like?
American minks are small mammals generally found in North America and some parts of South America. They are semi-aquatic animals and can swim for distances of up to 100 ft (30.5 m). This species has short and partially webbed feet. These partially webbed feet particularly help them when swimming. The skin of minks has glossy and hard fur (called guard hairs) which make them waterproof. Males are 13-14 in (33-35 cm) long while female minks are 12-14 in (30-35 cm) long. They are small wild animals that are black and dark brown in color with occasional white patches. An American mink skull is prominent, narrow, and short, with strongly developed projections and a short, wide cranium. Its two anal glands are used for marking scents. They live in a cute little home called a 'den'.
How do they communicate?
The use of American mink sounds helps them when finding mates and protecting their territories from predators. Minks have great senses of hearing, vision, and smell and usually use odors for communicating and defending areas. Minks are generally quiet so prefer to use visual signals and displays for communicating within their American mink habitat.
How big is an American mink?
A typical American mink size is between 12-14 in (31-38 cm) long. The length of an American mink male is 13-14 in (34-35 cm), and a female is 12-14 in (31-38 cm). The weight of the male is 1-3 lb (0.5-1.6 kg) and the female is 0.8-1.7 lb (400-780 g). American minks are not too large nor too small; they are medium-sized mammals usually found in wet areas that prey on insects, crayfish, frogs, and more.
How fast can an American mink run?
American minks can run on land at about 4 mph (6.5 kph). They usually live in grassy wetlands as they are also very quick swimmers. The speed of the mink matters most in protecting themselves from their predators.
How much does an American mink weigh?
An American mink male weighs 1-3 lb (0.5-1.6 kg), and a female weighs 0.8-1.7 lb (400-780 g). The weight of American minks varies across sexes and seasons, although a male is usually heavier than a female. The tail of this species measures 6-10 in (15.6-24.7 cm) in males and 6-8 in (14.8-21.5 cm) in females.
What are their male and female names of the species?
Minks are small wild animals with no specific names for males and females. The male may simply be known as an American mink male, while the female is known as an Amerian mink female. The main difference between male and female minks can be understood by measuring their weights as males are usually heavier than females and are generally more active.
What would you call a baby American mink?
A baby American mink is known cutely as a 'kit'. The gestation period for these beautiful mammals is between 40 to 75 days, and a female American mink is likely to give birth to between one and eight babies. Kits are born in late spring and, whilst minks usually prefer living alone, these young kits will stay with the female mink for a period of 10 months. After 10 months, the kits are ready to take care of themselves and can fight for their own survival and territories.
What do they eat?
The typical American mink diet mainly comprises prey including chipmunks, muskrats, birds, mice, fish, snakes, rabbits, waterfowl, and frogs. They also prey on small insects and small fish as part of their diet. They have short legs that help them swim and dive deep, up to 100 ft (30.5 m), so that they can prey on marine animals. American minks live in their den, which they construct themselves and they often store food there for future use, eating only when required. Minks kill their prey by biting their necks using their large jaws and razor-sharp teeth.
Are they dangerous?
Yes, they are dangerous to other wildlife animals. American minks sometimes damage poultry farms and may attack chickens, dogs, rabbits, ducks, and muskrats. This makes them a sort of pest, and people often try to keep them in check by trapping them.
Would they make a good pet?
American minks don't make a good pet due to their territorial nature. Rather than as a pet, minks are famous for their oil and fur. Mink oil is made from their fur and is widely used in medical and cosmetic labs. The fur of minks is used for making expensive fur coats and other luxury products.
Did you know...
One of the most amazing American mink facts for kids is that American mink fur is famous worldwide and is made into expensive and designer fur coats worn by most celebrities. Due to a lot of great efforts by animal welfare activists, mink fur is slowly declining in demand.
American minks are also killed for their oil which is used in medicinal and cosmetic products.
A typical American mink diet includes chipmunks, muskrats, rabbits, mice, fish, waterfowl, frogs, and snakes, and their main threats are habitat loss and improper disposal of chemicals.
Some American mink predators include foxes and wolves.
Can you have an American mink as a pet?
Having an American mink pet is no easy task but it is not impossible nor unheard of. After all, these animals were largely bred in fur farms, although with much cruelty involved in the process. If you do want to own an American mink pet, you must check the local laws in your area, as they are illegal to keep as pets in some states. They must be bought from specialist handlers and those with American mink expertise.
How does the American mink damage our ecosystem?
American minks damage our ecosystem because they are mammals that depend totally on small animals and small fish and are relentless when they catch their prey, damaging and eradicating many species in the process.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the field vole, or the rice rat.
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