American Mink

It is thought that the American Mink population in Europe has grown from animals that escaped from mink farms during the 20th century. The species is now widespread in UK and Ireland.

Description of the American Mink

Scientific Name: Mustela vison
Colour: Dark brown to black
Weight: 600 - 1000g
Length: 60cm
Body: Sleek, resembling a weasel or stoat
Lifespan 2-3 years

Reproduction of the American Mink

Litter Size: 5-6
No. of Litters: 1 per year
Sexual Maturity: 10 months
Gestation Period: 40-75 days
Breeding Season: April/May


Diet of the American Mink

The American mink is a fierce predator, and will prey on anything that it can kill. Its main source of food is fish, but it will also eat birds or rabbits.

In their continuous search for food they will readily take eggs, chicks and adult birds. They are opportunistic predators who will happily eat a variety of fish, small mammals, birds and invertebrates.

Mink may occasionally kill domestic poultry around farms. They typically kill their prey by biting them through the skull or neck. Closely spaced pairs of canine tooth marks are sign of a mink kill. They may place many dead chickens neatly in a pile.

Mink can eat significant numbers of upland nesting waterfowl or game bird young, particularly in areas where nesting habitat is limited.

Mink are aggressive predators and will overkill prey. They can cause significant damage to housed or penned game birds or poultry by killing large numbers, far more than they can eat, and they may also damage fish stocks.

Mink do not gnaw like rodents, but they are able to use burrows or gnawed openings made by rats.
The American mink has a stronger odour than the skunk!

Mink are suspicious of new objects and can be difficult to capture in live traps.

The Havahart® Small 1-Door Trap live traps are effective if baited and placed in dirt banks or rock walls.

The Havahart® Medium 2-Door Trap can also be effective around farmyards because mink are more accustomed to encountering human-made objects in those areas.

Bait that can be effective to lure mink include:

Rabbit carcasses, fresh fish, small animal carcass, smoked fish such as smoked kippers to give off a stronger smell, beware of slugs who love smoked fish too… Tinned cat food can also be used.