Last week while hoping for shorebirds at Montour Preserve, and watching for anything that moves from the kayak, I spotted this long, thin, chocolate-brown creature. I’ve seen them on the other side of the preserve before where very few people walk the trails, but never out in the open with people walking the path 5 feet away behind the brush. From my Audubon Mammals’ app, I learned that the American Mink’s range covers most of the US and Canada with the exception of the American SW. It is “able to dive to a depth of more than 16 feet, …is an accomplished swimmer, and spends much time hunting in ponds and streams. While the American Mink’s preferred prey is the Common Muskrat, it also takes rabbits, mice, chipmunks, fish, snakes, frogs, young snapping turtles, and marsh-dwelling birds.” Just like the weasel, it will bite the neck of its prey in order to kill it.
As a girl, I remember my father researching the possibility of raising mink for their furs, which were highly prized before wearing fur coats became taboo. Because they were so difficult to raise and so vicious to each other, he quickly changed his mind. Audubon Mammals says that they leave a scent which is worse than the skunk!
Anyway, I considered it a real treat to be able to observe this secretive animal for a few minutes before he darted back into the bushes when hearing children coming along the path nearby.