“Habitat of the Wild Mink”
Many hikers and adventure seekers have accidentally stumbled across the path of a wild mink. The mink, whose name is derived from the Swedish word Maenk, is a small semi-aquatic animal that resides in a variety of wetlands. The wild mink is a member of the weasel family and is closely related to the otter, skunk, badger, martens, fisher and wolverine. They have long slender bodies and their fur can range in color from black to white. Although more commonly, the fur will be various shades of brown. The mink’s pelt is highly insulated as it lives in semi-aquatic environments and spends a great deal of its time in the water.
The wild mink is a small and inquisitive creature, however, it is also a dangerous and highly territorial animal. With the exception of the breeding season, adult minks are solitary creatures who prefer to live alone. Young minks stay with the mother only until it is old enough to claim its’ own territory. Once the young mink matures, it will vacate the mothers den to find a new home. The adolescent mink will then claim the new territory by marking its’ scent in prominent locations such as large rocks and fallen logs.
An adult male mink, will normally averages around 3 pounds when full grown and will claim large stretches of wetland. The male will occupy up to 2.5 miles of stream land or approximately 2500 acres of wetland habitat. An adult female, slightly smaller than the male, will travel less than the male and thus only occupies 1 mile of stream or approximately 400 acres of wetland habitat. Despite their size, the wild mink is capable of attacking and killing animals larger than itself. Furthermore, due to their territorial nature, the wild mink is capable of killing other minks over territorial disputes.
The wild mink can be found in any wetland area throughout North America and Northern Europe. Despite being hunted by poachers for their fur, the species is still going strong as the numbers of mink in the wild are very high. At present time, the population of the mink is so strong that Conservationists have made claims that the abundance of the wild mink can actually be used as an “accurate indicator of the health of the wetlands and other aquatic eco-systems.” This is due in part to their low tolerance for toxins. Therefore, there is a positive correlation between the health of the ecosystem and the number of minks present in the area.
The wild mink thrives in aquatic areas such as streams, rivers, ponds, marshes and lakes. Any wetland surrounded by lush shorelines will be inhabited by the wild mink. The thick vegetation is a necessary component to their habitat because it provides the perfect cover from predators in addition to providing the perfect location to hunt prey of their own.
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