American Mink


Big changes! I moved back to Calgary and I got a Canon Powershot with 50x zoom for my birthday. No more unidentifiable brown blobs in the distance thanks to my new vision superpower. My previous camera was a Canon Powershot with 3x zoom.

I saw this marvelous mink swimming across the Elbow River, a little bit south of Stanley Park. I guessed that it was a weasel. But after a bit of research, I learned that the word “weasel” refers to any mammal of the family Mustelidae. And usually, the word “weasel” is assumed to refer to the Least Weasel.

The mink was a fast swimmer. It disappeared into the bushes on the eastern shore of the river before I could get the lens cap off my camera. I walked on. Then I heard a Mallard quack as it swim-flew away from where the mink had disappeared. Hmm… maybe I should go back and look for it, I thought. So I did. I scrambled down a steep slope to the water’s edge and looked toward the bushes. Nothing. Some cute Mallard ducklings swam my way. I took some pictures. And then… I saw a cute furry brown head poke out from behind some rocks. It looked at me and retreated behind the rocks. I waited. And tentatively, it came out completely and stared at the water for 30 seconds or so. Then it slipped in and swam away.


Nature Has No Boss posted a cool, action-packed picture of an American Mink a little over a week ago. That is how I figured out the little brown river mammal was a mink.


  1. Hope your move went well! Vancouver will miss you. 🙂 And a very happy birthday to you! Minks are fascinating; we have one on our property and we hope it doesn’t find the chicken house… :}

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      • Hubby made the chicken house raccoon proof (dug down 3 feet deep around the base to embed chicken wire…though once a raccoon actually yanked open the front door – because it was rotting and we hadn’t gotten around to fixing it – and killed most of our chickens), so hopefully it’s mink-proof. 🙂

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          • We assume just one since they’re usually loners (aside from a mom with young ones). We were actually on vacation so our poor neighbors had to sort out the bloody mess (and figure out the culprit by method of slaughter and paw prints).

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              • The one raccoon killed about 7 chickens. Raccoons are dreadful, actually. Hawks will eat the whole bird with no waste. Raccoons bite the heads and butts off the chickens (for the grains/greens in the gullet and the un-laid eggs in the rear end). You can imagine what a gruesome sight it is to come across headless, butt-less chickens and blood flung all over the place.

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                • Wow! I had no idea. That is gruesomely wacky. I’m inclined to believe you, but there is a little voice in my head saying: ‘wait, maybe she made that up’. So I Googled it. Hmm, it seems there are many animals that are only interested in chicken heads and necks (but with different murder signatures). Well, I know a bit more than I did yesterday.

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    • Thanks for this information Ty. I do not wear fur, though I do eat free range meat. After watching the Norwegian video, I was curious about fur farming in Canada. I watched two videos on “humane” fur farming, one in Ontario (Canada) and one in Wisconsin (USA). According to the law, both these farms treat their animals well – their food is nutritious, their cages are clean, the warehouse is well lit and aerated, the animals’ health is monitored by veterinarians, the animals are mostly calm, and they are killed with carbon monoxide. Some argue that in some ways, their 7 month life span is sweeter than nature. For 7 months, they are guaranteed regular and nutritious meals, and they do not have to fear predators. Personally, I forced myself to watch the two videos. The small size of the cages and the dollop of food placed on the gridded ceiling of the cage made me feel sick. I cried and cried. And I do not think I’m being overly sensitive. According to Statistics Canada, almost 3 million minks were pelted in Canada in 2013. According to Wikipedia, annual global mink fur production totals 50 million (though the year and source of this statistic is not stated). I just don’t understand how people can be OK with animals spending their whole lives in tiny cages. ‘Oh, but fur is soooo luxurious!’ Disgusting! The Fur Council of Canada has a website called Fur is Green. Fur is green because it is biodegradable (unlike faux-fur) and the entire animal is used (pet food and manure) and the animal waste products are used for manure. But the animals live in tiny cages!!!


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