Missouri Mink

Last week I mentioned that I had found another Mink (Mustela vison) during one of last week’s kayak outings. Unfortunately, due to this small, quick-footed mammal’s movements in the undergrowth along the creek bank, I was not able to capture any images, but I’m looking forward to capturing some images in the near future. I received a tweet from one of my Missouri friends that they were not aware that mink even existed in Missouri, so I thought I’d dig up some of my images of the last encounter with minks (two different animals that I photographed in 2006) for this post.

The mink is a relatively small mammal, measuring a sleek 19-28 inches long and weighing 1.5 to 3.5 pounds. The typical mink habitat is along creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes and marshes.  He mostly hunts at night, but adapts it’s hunting time for prey availability. The preferred prey of the mink is the Common Muskrat, but it will also take rabbits, mice, fish, snakes, frogs, young turtles and marsh-dwelling birds.

The mink is often not seen, even when it is there, due to it’s relatively small size, it’s quickness, and the fact that the mink does not have a permanent den. Rather, it moves frequently, using discarded Beaver lodges, muskrat burrows, or digging it’s own burrow as it moves around. Known predators of the mink include bobcats, lynx, foxes, alligators and the great horned owl. I’m hoping that I will be able to photograph my newest aquatic acquaintance again very soon.  Here are a few images from my 2006 sightings:

 

Mink

 

Mink

 

Mink

 

And this next image shows a mink with a freshly-caught Bullfrog in it’s mouth, showing the relatively small size of the mink:

 

Mink with Bullfrog

 

 Awesome animals, aren’t they? And the mink coat looks so much better on these little guys than on a person! By the way, can you imagine how many of these guys would need to be sacrificed to make a mink coat? Fortunately, the fur business is not what it used to be!

 

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