Mink (Mustela vison) found in Britain are descendants of animals that originally escaped from fur farms. The species is native to North America; however, following successful breeding in the wild, mink are now established throughout England and Wales. Control is often necessary because of the damage that they can cause to wildlife, fisheries and game and domestic birds.
Most feral mink are dark brown with a white chin patch but other colour forms, from white to almost black, may also be found. In size and shape, they resemble ferrets.
Adult males average 1.2kg (2½ lbs.) in weight and are about 600mm (24″) from the nose to the tip of the tail. Females are only half this weight and about 500mm (20″) in length.
Mating takes place between late February and the end of March. The young are born in late April or May and are weaned at eight weeks. They stay with their mother until late summer when the family gradually disperses; individuals may then become solitary.
The effect of mink on local wildlife can be significant. Attacks on stocks of game and ornamental birds or fish can be a problem too. Mink are rarely seen and a decrease in the local waterfowl population, or the killing of ornamental ducks, may be the first indication of their presence.
The most effective method removing Mink is trapping.