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Nature Notebook – American Mink

An American mink provided some recent entertainment for the naturalist staff while cavorting about the front yard ponds. Normally minks hang around the shorelines of waterways, lakes and ponds but apparently, this guy was on an explore for a new source of food.

The mink’s thick underfur and longer, oily guard hairs and fully furred feet insulated him as he rolled in the snow. He found an opening in the ice cover, dove into the water and came up with something to eat, perhaps an overwintering tadpole. Aquatic birds and their eggs, frogs, and worms can also be on the menu.

This sighting was exciting because, although minks are common, they are rarely seen. Nocturnal by nature they are most active at dawn and dusk and very secretive. They resemble otters but their bodies are much smaller. A fluffy tail and pointed snout also sets them apart. They are like otters in that they mark their territories with strong, pungent odors so we should be grateful this was just a quick visit.