Saturday, April 13, 2013


Mink - Mustela vison

Both the genus and species names mean "weasel."  Mustela is the Latin word, and vison is the Swedish word for weasel. 
Mink often use the ice that forms on the edge of a river as a highway to move from one place to another. In late March 2013, I spotted this mink scampering along an Elbow River ice ledge. Mink also like to slide on snow.  
The mink eats anything that comes by including fish, frogs, small rodents, waterfowl, eggs, worms, and insects. Mice are common prey. Mink will follow a muskrat to the den, kill and eat the adult, then the brood, and then live in the den for a few days. Mink change dens regularly. About seven summers ago, there were at least half a dozen muskrat in the Discovery Duck Pond and then suddenly there were none. Perhaps a Mink found them?  
The mink has an anal musk gland that discharges a liquid as stinky as a skunk. The Swedish word Menk means, "the stinking animal from Finland."


Gadd, Ben. Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. Corax Press. Jasper, Alberta. 1986.

Rezendes, Paul. Tracking and the Art of Seeing. How to Read Animal Tracks and Signs. Firefly Books. Willowdale, Ontario. 1999.   

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