Minks are small semiaquatic mammals in the Mustelidae family. This genus includes ferrets, weasels, and otters. Minks come in American and European types, with American Minks leading to controversy in recent years.
A male mink living in the wild weighs about two and a quarter pounds and is around 24 inches long. Female Minks are considerably smaller. This size difference is significant considering the history of Mink hunting. This history includes species extinction, such as the New England sea mink, which disappeared in the late 1800s.
Minks live on birds, eggs, small rodents, and aquatic life such as fish. Mink litters are on average ten pups per pregnancy. Remarkably, Minks can delay gestation, meaning they get to control when their litters arrive, which does vary. The maximum lifespan in captivity is ten years. In the wild, Minks don’t live much beyond three.
People have hunted wild mink for their coats for centuries. A wild mink’s coat is silky brown because of natural oils in the fur. The luxurious feel of a Mink’s fur spurred the fur coat industry, where garments can cost thousands of dollars. Today, much of the Minks used in the fur industry come from Mink farms. Fur from farm-bred minks can be white or contain white spots.