- The mink looks like the weasel but is larger with a bushier tail. It has small, rounded ears; beady eyes; short legs; and sharp claws. The fur ranges in color from rich chocolate-brown to almost black. There is often a white patch on the chest or chin and white spots scattered on the underparts. The coat is shiny, durable, and one of the most beautiful in the world.
- This sleek furbearer likes the running waters of streams and rivers, as well as the standing waters of marshes and lakes, especially in wooded or brushy areas. The highest populations occur along small streams cluttered with vegetation or along streams with wooded banks. Maintenance of wetlands and stream bank cover is one of the best habitat management practices for encouraging mink populations.
- The mink is a solitary, restless creature that associates willingly with other mink only during the mating season. The female usually makes her den in a burrow along the bank of a stream or lake or under a stump or log. The female assumes all responsibility for the young, which become full grown at five months.
- Mice and muskrats make up most of the mink's diet. It is known to kill more than it can eat and store the excess.
- The mink does not hibernate. No weather is too cold or too wet to interfere with hunting. Although territorial by nature, the male often wanders far afield. When males meet, a violent fight is likely and may leave one or more dead mink. Angry mink can screech, hiss, snarl, and bark. A contented mink may purr or churr. Like its distant relative the skunk, the mink has anal scent glands. These excrete a fluid that smells like diluted skunk musk.
- Mating: polygamous.
- Breeding period: January to March.
- Gestation period: 39 to 76 days; average 42 days.
- Birth period: April and May.
- Litters per year: 1. Number of young: 2 to 10 per litter; average 6.
- Age females can breed: 1 year.
- Adult weight: 1¾ to 3 pounds.
- Life expectancy: 3 to 4 years; maximum 10 years.
- Feeding time: mostly at night.
- Movement: home range unknown; males may range several miles.
- Typical foods: small mammals up to muskrat size (muskrat is preferred food); also birds, frogs, eggs, fish, and crayfish.