Mink are small nocturnal carnivores with short dense fur shaded chocolate to nearly black with small patches of white on the chin, throat, or belly. Some have light fur and they are known as cotton mink. Males measure 20 to 30 inches with weights over three pounds, while females are smaller at 16 to 21 inches and 1.5 to two pounds. Mink have glands in the anal area that can release a powerful, unpleasant smelling musk. They are quick on land, skilled swimmers, and capable tree climbers.
Mink are widely distributed across the U.S. except for the southwest and Florida. They inhabit streams, rivers, marshes, lakes, and ponds. Males range widely over routes of 25 miles or more, while females stay close to their dens in holes, hollow logs, rock piles, beaver lodges, muskrat lodges, or abandoned muskrat dens. Males maintain numerous dens and often cache food in some of them. Mink eat muskrats, crayfish, frogs, fish, rabbits, birds, insects, and snakes. Owls, fox, coyotes, bobcats, and dogs prey on mink. Breeding occurs in late February or early March with delayed implantation. They have one litter a year with an average of four young.
It is never recommended that you feed, try to play with, train or even attempt to touch a wild animal.
Mink, weasels, and martins love to eat farmyard and barnyard fowl, pet pigeons, rabbits, and have even attacked a hunter here in the 90s when he spent part of deer season feeding it.
Marten are small weasel-like woodland mammals varying from light to dark brown with a bushy tail and orange throat. It weighs from one to 3.5 pounds, with males larger than females. Marten are active in the early morning, late afternoon, at night, and on cloudy days. They can climb trees, but spend most of their time on the ground foraging for rodents. Their large feet allow them to walk on snow. Marten sometimes bury meat and both sexes establish scent posts.
Marten range from New England to the northern Great Lakes states, the Rocky Mountains, and the northern west coast living in coniferous forests with numerous dead trees and debris. Their home range is as small as one square mile but the range varies with sex, food availability, and habitat. Marten den in hollow trees, fallen logs, rocks, squirrel nests, and woodpecker holes. Food includes red-backed voles, other rodents, red squirrels, and birds. Fisher and owls prey on marten. Breeding occurs in July with delayed implantation. They have one litter a year with one to six young. Both sexes breed during their second year of life.
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Latin Name: Mustela frenata, Mustela erminea;
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Weasels are small furbearers with short fur, generally light brown above and cream-colored on the throat and belly, with blacktipped tails. In northern areas their coats change to white in the winter, and these are called ermine. Adult long-tailed weasels (M. frenata) measure 13 to 17 inches including a 4.5 to 6.5 inch tail. Males are larger than females. Short-tailed weasels have tails four inches long or less. Weasels are primarily nocturnal.
Long-tailed weasels are widely distributed in the U.S., except for the southwest, while short-tailed weasels are in most of the far northern states. Habitats include mountains, farmland, forests, and prairies near water. Weasels generally stay within a half-mile of their den. They eat mice, voles, chipmunks, rabbits, birds, eggs, and poultry. They are eaten by fox, mink, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, and owls. Both sexes use a single den in hollow stumps, tree roots, rock piles, or under old buildings. Dens are lined with grasses and fur from prey animals. Weasels breed in July with delayed implantation, producing one litter with an average of six young. Females mate at three to four months, males during their second year of life.