Posted 22nd March
The mink escaped from fur farms in the 1950s and 1960s, and now breed across most of the country
They're active predators, feeding on anything they are big enough to catch, including our native Water Voles, which now find themselves under the threat of extinction. Hunting on the riverbanks, mink are good swimmers, enabling them to enter the water-line burrows of Water Voles. You'll be much more likely to see a mink than you are the shy and secretive Otter.
You can distinguish mink from Otters due to their smaller size, darker, and almost black fur, coupled with their small white chin and throat.
They're widespread, and can be found throughout the country, except for in the far north of Scotland and certain islands.
A non-native, the American Mink poses a major threat to the survival of our native Water Vole. Capable of adapting well to life on our waterways, the American Mink can wipe out entire Water Vole populations, with female Mink small enough to enter burrows, thus taking young Water Voles. To help to save the Water Vole, the Wildlife Trusts are working hard to improve riverbank habitats, controlling Mink and playing a part in Water Vole reintroduction schemes. Volunteers are needed to help with everything from monitoring populations to riverbank restoration.
Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts / image courtesy of Wildstock