American Mink (Neovison vison)

American Mink © Darin Smith


The American mink is species that is closely related to the weasel and the stoat, however, it is not native to the UK and was originally brought over for the fur trade. After some individuals escaped or were released across mainland UK and Ireland. The American mink is a semi-aquatic species that can dive underwater up to 6 metres in depth. The American mink is nocturnal and are generally solitary apart from between February and April when breeding takes place. The young are born between April and June and Minks will have up to 10 young and start hunting after 8 weeks.
Due to their introduced status and the effect that they have on local species by reducing the number of breeding birds and water voles, the species has been controlled to reduce their impact.


The American Mink is an opportunistic hunter and will change its feeding habits depending on the season. It will hunt rodents such as water voles as well as crayfish.

How to identify/track?

Mink can reach up to 71cm in length and can weigh up to 1.5kg. They can be mistaken for European mink although they are much larger. The mink has webbed feet and fur covered with an oily substance which prevents the water soaking their skin.

Did you know?

  • American Minks can produce an oily substance that is used for making territory and defence.

Reserves where they are present

Found throughout Wiltshire

Others in the Mammal Family

Bank VoleBadger, Brown HareGrey Squirrel, Hazel DormouseHedgehogHouse MouseOtterRabbitRed FoxWeaselWild Boar

Print out a copy of the American Mink factsheet