Welcome, Stalkers, to the twenty-second edition of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors. We are quickly approaching the halfway mark in the year. When we reach that mark, we will have a very special Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors newsletter. We’ll be featuring the best of Mike Blair. Do you have a favorite photo that Blair has produced? Which video particularly captured your attention? We want to know! Email us or leave a comment somewhere letting us know which ones are your favorite!
Two years ago, Blair braved the three-digit weather to explore his beloved outdoors. When he had a rare find. Spotting this normally nocturnal creature, he took the opportunity to bring us a fun experience not often seen. A mink family, enjoying the day and the hunt. There aren’t very many photos of this one but there is a very fun video – Mink Family Hunting.
Minks are small creatures. They have long, sleek bodies and short, stubby legs. They have long necks and small ears and eyes. Their long, thick tail makes up about one third of their entire length. Minks most commonly feature brown to black fur. Some have white markings on the chin and/or throat. Their fur is soft and thick. A layer of outer, oily guard hairs help make them more waterproof. Their feet are wide and slightly webbed. Female minks are usually smaller and lighter than males.
Fun Fact: Although American Minks are commonly associated with the European Mink, their closest relative is actually the Siberian weasel in Asia.
These slinky creatures move with a quick, bounding gait while on land. They can climb trees and are quite talented in the water. They are excellent swimmers; it is said that they can swim up to 16 feet deep. Their stream-lined shape enables them to swim faster. The mink can swim in warm water for up to three hours; however, in cold water they will die within twenty-seven minutes.
The American Mink is fully a carnivore. No vegetables for these little animals. Their diet mainly consists of rodents, fish, crustaceans and birds. They will eat basically any type of meat that they are able to catch. Fish, crawdads, snakes, frogs, rabbits, mice and small birds are at the top of that list. Their long and narrow figure, makes it easier for them to enter the burrows of some of their prey. Minks are known for catching more food than they can eat and bringing back to their burrow or cache. They will store it there until they decide to eat it later.
The American Mink can be found nearly all of the United States and Canada. The only region of the United States that it is not common to be found is in the southwest. Southern Utah, southern California, New Mexico, Arizona and western Texas are not friendly environments for these mammals. They make their homes in forested areas near rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and marshes.
The mink’s mating season is from January to April. Females have their young from April to June. These broods can consist of anywhere from three to six young. They are born blind for twenty-five days and depend on milk from mom for five weeks. Young minks will stay with their mothers and learn to hunt until autumn. Then they will strike out on their own. They will mate their first season at around ten months of age.
Minks are very territorial creatures and will mark their area. Males will not allow territory cross-overs with other males but they are known to tolerate boundaries of females to cross over into their territory. If a mink feels threatened they are similar to the skunk in the fact that they will spray the intruders with a distance of up to twelve inches. Unlike skunks they don’t have the ability to aim their spray and it is said that they smell worse than skunks.
Minks aren’t very vocal creatures. They will hiss and growl when being confronted and they may grunt during mating. Although, some stories say that they will purr like a cat when they’re happy.
Be sure to check out the video Mink Family Hunting. It is truly entertaining to watch and very informative about these mammals that aren’t seen very often. Also, be sure to vote for your Mike Blair favorites!
Be sure to check out the American Mink Photo Gallery!