There are two species of mink (part of the weasel family) native to the Northern Hemisphere. The European mink (Mustela lutreola) and the American mink (Neovison vision). They are notoriously valued for their luxurious dark fur and have been common in Ohio long before settlement. They still can be found in every part of Ohio.
Here are some things you may be interested to learn about these stealthy animals:
- As part of the weasel family, mink have a very narrow long body with an almost squirrel-like tail. Their faces are small with rounded ears and beady eyes. They have sharp claws for their strictly carnivorous diet of small mammals, birds, frogs, eggs, fish, and crayfish.
- Mink generally can be found near streams, lakes, or marshes with lots of dense vegetation on wooded banks for concealment. This explains why they love the Nature Center so much!
- Adult mink weigh under 3 pounds and are just over a foot long. Mink can live up to five years, but their general lifespan is around 3-4 years.
- While mink tend to live alone, they associate with other mink only during mating season (January through March).
- As semi-aquatic animals, mink are strong swimmers and will often dive into water to hunt or hide.
The best time to spot a mink at NCSL is early morning or during a quiet time of day. Look carefully along the stream bank as you may see a mink scurrying along and then quickly disappear into the water. As a predator for our ducks, you may even catch the ducks quacking to scare off this sneaky creature.