Interesting facts about the American mink

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We found 19 interesting facts about American mink

Furry Commando

The American mink is a species common in North America, where it lives in the wild. It was introduced to Europe in the 50s and spread throughout Eurasia. It was brought as a fur-bearing animal, but part of it escaped breeding and settled on our continent. Mink adapts perfectly to any conditions. It hunts on land, climbs trees and swims. It feeds on birds, fish, amphibians, mammals and invertebrates - it is a very voracious species. And recently it has even become an element of political disputes in the Polish parliament.

1

The American mink, also called the American mink, is a species of carnivorous mammal in the mustelidae family.

Mustelids and martens (Mustelidae) are the largest family of predatory mammals, including small and medium-sized animals. They have a slender body and short legs, and are perfectly adapted to a predatory lifestyle in a variety of environments. The mustelidae family includes about 60 species, including weasels, martens, otters, minks and badgers. They are closely related to pandas, skunks and raccoons. Mustelids are very skilled and persistent hunters, some are bred for their fur, others are kept as pets.
2

The American mink is not closely related to the European mink, and the species cannot interbreed.

Some researchers believe that the appearance of the American mink on our continent caused a significant decline in the European mink population. According to other sources, it replaced the previously exterminated European mink.
3

The wild population of American mink spread thanks to the Soviet Union, which carried out a large-scale campaign to acclimatize these animals from 1937 to the 50s.

Probably about 20 individuals were released at that time. these animals were released into the wild and they quickly spread.
4

Minks were imported to Poland in 1953 for breeding purposes.

Many of them managed to escape from the farms and were released by various environmental organizations. By the end of the 90s, the American mink managed to colonize almost the entire territory of Poland.
5

This causes concern among naturalists, since the American mink has proven to be a very destructive species for local zoocenoses.

Local populations of some birds and mammals have been destroyed. The expansion of the American mink is likely responsible for population declines, including: coot and muskrat.
6

The elongated body of the American mink is 30-43 cm long, has short legs and a tail 13-23 cm long.

The head is small and rather flat, the toes of the hind feet are webbed. Males differ in size from females (the upper size range refers to males, the lower to females). Body weight, depending on gender, ranges from 7 to 1,3 kg.
7

These animals are covered with thick soft fur, impermeable to water.

The fur is usually brown and the chin is white.
8

Farmed mink are 30% larger than wild mink and weigh twice as much.

More than 200 colorful varieties of mink are grown on the farm. These include white, black, brown, yellow (called palomino), silver-blue and "velvet", which are characterized by a short, silky coat.
9

The largest producers of mink skins in the world are the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Finland, Sweden, as well as Denmark and the Netherlands. In 2013, Poland took second place in the production and export of fur, including mink.

Mink farming is prohibited in many countries, including: Switzerland - although they have never been bred there - Austria and the UK. In Poland there is a struggle to introduce a ban on fur farming.
10

American minks are most active at night and at dusk.

During the day, they stay in earthen burrows up to 3 m long, which they dug themselves. It also happens that they do not dig their own holes, but occupy existing ones, or settle in low-lying hollows or uprooted trees (overturned trees with torn roots).
11

They live near forest reservoirs, marking the boundaries of their territory with secretions of the perianal glands.

The size of the territory depends on gender, males have an area of ​​up to 440 hectares, females 8-20 hectares.
12

Outside the mating season, minks lead a solitary lifestyle and react with aggression to members of their own species.

They are quiet animals that rarely make sounds.
13

They swim excellently and dive even to depths of 6 m.

Mink fur does not get wet thanks to the air layer that creates insulation.
14

The mating season for minks lasts from February to early April.

After a gestation period of approximately 40–80 days, 2–3 cubs are usually born in late April or May. The chicks are born in a nest lined with hair, feathers and dry plants. After 6 weeks of life, the cubs are already partially independent, and in the fall the mother leaves them.
15

Females reach sexual maturity after about a year, males after 18 months.

Minks live from 4 to 6 years.
16

Minks are very skilled hunters and will eat almost anything within their reach.

Their menu includes small mammals (hares, muskrats, shrews), frogs, arthropods, insects, fish, birds and bird eggs.
17

Minks pose a great threat, especially to seabirds that live in colonies on islands several kilometers from the mainland.

A mink can swim to the island and kill up to a hundred chicks in one night. Thus, one individual can destroy a colony of several thousand birds.
18

The American mink is a rival to Europe's most endangered mammal, the European mink.

19

The oil, called mink oil, is produced from the fatty layer under the skin of the mink.

It is a source of palmitoleic acid, which has properties similar to human sebum. For this reason, it is used in cosmetics and medical products. It is also used to preserve various types of leather. Mink oil is resistant to UVA and UVB radiation, does not cause allergies, does not go rancid, and is used for the production of perfumes and soaps.

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