Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


American Mink

American Mink Mustela vison

A long slinky brown  carnivore, mink weigh only about .5-1 kg and are about .5 m long. Their sleek fur made them a prized fur-bearing animal, and mink are still farmed for their fur. Mink live to 8 to 10 years of age unless eaten by one of their many natural predators including bald eagles and owls. Mink live near the ocean and will travel up creeks, streams and rivers, living in hollows or caves along the shores. They are extremely territorial and mark their territories with strong scents from their scent glands.

The mink has a gestation period of a little more than a month, and like a lot of its close relatives, has a process called delayed implantation, where the embryo enters a dormant state until favorable environmental conditions allow the gestation period to begin. Birth usually occurs in the spring and the young mink stay with their mother until the fall when they become independent. Males have very little to do with caring for their young and often  depart after reproducing.