Goose Creek Lake Wildlife - Mink

Updated: 10/15/2019

Adult American minks are are almost entirely brown, with a white chin and with white spots occurring irregularly on the throat, chest, and belly. The mink is one of few mammals in which males are larger than females. Males reach 27 inches long and 3 pounds while the largest female may be only 21 inches long and 2 pounds. A mink's tail is not like an otter's (it is not obviously thick at the base, nor is it flat on the bottom, nor does it obviously taper from the body toward the tip). There is only a short web between the toes. Musk glands in the anal region secrete a strong odor considered by many to be more obnoxious than that of either weasel or skunk. This odor is given off particularly during the breeding season but also at any period of intense excitement.

Similar species: In our state, minks are most likely to be confused with the long-tailed weasel and the North American river otter. The long-tailed weasel is smaller (total length to 11½ inches), brown above, and whitish below (not all brown). The river otter is larger (total length up to 53 inches), with a tail that is thick at the base, flat on the bottom, and obviously tapering from the body toward the tip; the toes are fully webbed.

Size: Males: Total length: 20–27 inches; tail length: 7–9 inches; weight: 1½–3¼ pounds. Females smaller (to 2 pounds).