10 Incredible Mink Facts

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: August 26, 2023
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10 Mink Facts
Minks are semi-aquatic and prefer wetland habitats.

Minks are dark-furred, semi-aquatic, and carnivorous mammals from the genera Mustela and Neogale. Otters, ferrets, and weasels are all close relatives. The American mink and the European mink are the two living animals that share the name “mink.” The sea mink, which is now extinct, was closely related to the American mink, albeit much larger. Ready to learn more? In this article, we will explore 10 incredible Mink facts. Let’s go!

1. Minks Have Many Areas They Inhabit

American mink (Neovison vison)

Wetlands are an optimal habitat for minks.

©Karel Bock/iStock via Getty Images

Except for the extreme north of Canada and the dry southwest, the American mink is native to most of the continent. Despite this, populations of escaped fur farm animals have established themselves across most of Russia and northern Europe.

Waterways strictly delineate mink territories. They populate a wide variety of wetlands, from fresh and saltwater marshes to coastal locations and inland waterways.

2. Adult Minks Are Generally Solitary

mink vs weasel

Adult minks interact during the breeding season but are otherwise solitary creatures.


Males and females momentarily interact before mating in the springtime, and four kits on average are born in the late spring. Kits may travel in pairs through late fall, and young females might remain with their mothers until they reach around eleven months old. However, they are functionally sufficient by around ten weeks old, and they normally start to scatter at around 12 to 16 weeks. The distance these juveniles travel in search of their personal territory might range up to 50 kilometers.

3. Male and Female Territories Sometimes Overlap

mink vs weasel

While minks establish individual territories, those of males and females may overlap.

©Aleksandra Saveljeva/Shutterstock.com

Minks of the same sex tend to keep to their own areas, although there might be a significant overlap in the territory between male and female mink. The average habitat size can vary anywhere from 1.1 km to 7.5 km depending on factors like sex (males typically have a larger range than females) and habitat.

4. Minks Are Carnivores

brown mink out in a natural environment killing a muscovy duck

Minks are successful predators capable of bringing down animals twice their size.

©graphicphoto/iStock via Getty Images

The American mink is a small, slender carnivorous mammal that belongs to the mustelid (weasel) family and is characterized by its lengthy, lean body, short legs, and long tail. Minks are strict carnivores and their diet shifts with the seasons and the accessibility of food. Most of the time, it is made up of amphibians, fish, crustaceans, and small mammals, but on rare occasions, it may also include birds, bird eggs, worms, reptiles, snails, and aquatic insects.

5. Sadly, Mink Are Still Killed By The Millions Around The World

American Mink

Fur-producing nations were responsible for 41 million mink deaths in one year in Europe.


Sadly, to create mink fur, over 41 million minks were killed in the EU in 2014. Around 18 million animals were bred and killed in Denmark alone. The biggest mink fur-producing nations in Europe were Poland and the Netherlands, producing several million furs each. About 40% of global production, was produced in China in 2014. During the 2013–14 fur auction season, mink pelts were manufactured worldwide and sold for about 3.7 billion euros.

6. There Are Mink “Farms” In Some Countries

Mink farm. Production of elite fur. Animal in a cage, in the hands of a man.

Mink farms use selective breeding to develop exotic colors not seen in nature.

©Neznam/iStock via Getty Images

The predominant coat color is deep brown; however, albinos, tans, and blondes are all possible. By using selective breeding techniques, fur farms have developed a wide range of exotic colors not seen in nature. Minks used for their fur are still often trapped in the wild to be later killed for their fur. This is because farmed mink, due to their coat differences, cannot meet all the requirements of the fur business.

The wild mink isn’t used to being confined or being around people. “These undomesticated animals exploited in the fur industry are intrinsically inappropriate for farming due to their fear of humans,” said animal welfare specialists.

7. Mink Have Escaped As Well Been Released From Fur Farms

American mink

American minks have been released into areas where they are not native in order to ensure supply for later trapping.

©An inspiration/Shutterstock.com

The American mink is a non-native animal that has caused extensive ecological damage and is now found in much of Northern Europe and Russia, including Ireland and the United Kingdom. The species was introduced irresponsibly, either because of accidental releases from fur farms or as a deliberate act on the part of fur breeders or trappers. In 1933, Russian fur trappers began releasing domesticated American minks into the wild to ensure a consistent supply of minks for later trapping. By the year 1948, almost 3,700 creatures had been set free.

8. The Mink Is Adapted For A Semi-Aquatic Lifestyle

sea mink

Minks are semi-aquatic animals.

©Needsmoreritalin / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Each mink guard hair is encircled by 9-24 underfur hairs, making the total number of guard hairs in their coat three times that of a terrestrial ferret. Slight webbing exists between their toes, but it is still easy to see. When on land, mink wander or bound along, demonstrating their impressive climbing and jumping abilities. They have a maximum depth diving capability of 5–6 meters and can swim 30–35 meters underwater.

9. Mink Breeding is Banned in Some Countries

The extinct sea mink

©Internet Archive Book Images, no known copyright restrictions (public domain) – License

Right now, mink breeding for fur is prohibited in several countries, including the UK. The spread of alien species is just one example of the broad and severe ecological damage that the fur trade has inflicted on the planet.

10. Mink Have Multiple Dens For Different Reasons


Minks typically have multiple dens with different purposes.

©John Pitcher/iStock via Getty Images

The last of our incredible mink facts is that they typically have anywhere from six to twenty different dens that they use for lounging, sleeping, eating large prey, and storing surplus food. Many are within a few short meters of the water, in crevices between tree roots or abandoned animal burrows.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Aleksandra Saveljeva/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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