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Mink: The Most Vicious Of All Animals?

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Published on June 29th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie


Mink: The Most Vicious Of All Animals?


Shadows flicker and move causing confusion. Is there something stalking unseen? Or could it just be the wind pushing against the grass. A moving branch throbs and a blur comes pouring out seizing its unsuspecting prey in a lethal embrace of tooth and claw.

American Mink

This slender, sinewy creature stalks the undergrowth of a riverbed. It is remorseless and will attack anything regardless of size. This is the mink, the true psychopath of the animal kingdom.

Territorial Predators

Mink are very keen on territory. They will attack any other mink that unwisely enters their realm. Although some males have been known to tolerate females in their territory.

These animals always live very close to water. They frequently live beside rivers and marsh land.

The Two Types

There are two different species of mink. The European Mink is a native of central Europe and Russia. This species is endangered and is perilously close to becoming extinct. One of the main reasons for this is the introduction of the larger, American Mink into Europe. The American mink is much more suitable for the fur trade.

European Mink Photo By Nicolai Meyer

The Fur Trade

American Mink is farmed extensively for the multi-billion euro fur trade industry. These animals are the most  important contributor and individual pelts can be worth up to €70. The largest importer of fur is China. However, the United States is not far behind with in excess of one billion euro spent on fur, much of it mink, last year alone.

Mink Pelts

Every year 50 million mink pelts are produced with Denmark, the world largest farmers of the animal, leading the way with 14 million.

Far from being an industry in decline the global fur trade is thriving and mink is the cornerstone.

The Lethal Nature Of Mink

Mink is an animal that should not be underestimated. They are extremely violent and will attack almost anything. Although very rare, they have also attacked fully-grown adults in unprovoked incidents.

Breeders of mink must keep the animals in separate cages as they will kill and eat one another. Despite all of the years of domestication, these animals are still not tame and must be handled with protective gloves by the farmers.

European Mink By The Water


The Devastating Release Into The Wild

In the 1990’s the fur trade industry went into a sharp decline as animal rights activists succeeded in alerting people to their cause. Fur became deeply unpopular as a consequence and the demand for mink fur was greatly reduced.

Animal rights liberators broke into mink farms in the 1990’s and released the mink into the wild. However, there have been also unconfirmed reports that some farmers released them as they could no longer afford to keep the animals without any prospect of return.

Whoever was responsible, the consequences of releasing the invasive mink has been devastating for the local wildlife. American mink is endangering stock of native fish and also native animals, especially those that live close to the water’s edge.

Mink After Killing Salmon

In 2010, when the fur market was strong, 5,000 mink were released into the wild by animal rights activists in Donegal, Ireland, during the salmon breeding season. These hard-core activists have caused untold damage to local wildlife and the true picture of the animal’s impact will only begin to emerge in the coming decades.

Vital Statistics

  • Minks can be up to 60 centimetres (24 inches) in length.
  • They can weigh in excess of one kilogram (two lbs) in the wild while farmed mink can weigh 3 kg (seven lbs).
  • Mink can live for over ten years.
  • They are found in temperate regions such as North America, Europe, Siberia and Ireland.

About the Author

4 Responses to Mink: The Most Vicious Of All Animals?

  1. billy martin says:

    as a rural dweller in wexford i dont think i have ever come across any mink.do you know of anybody attacked by these creatures?do they carry desease?

  2. Yellow Magpie says:

    Thanks for your comment Billy. Yes, we do, several in the Midlands and Connacht area of Ireland have encountered them some have even lost livestock. However, no one that we know of has been attacked.

    The problem of mink is now considered so serious that there is even a proposed €3 bounty for dead mink that will be implemented soon.

    This is despite the fact that several thousand animals are trapped each year which leads to the conclusion that the country is overrun with them.

  3. IDC says:

    I live in Rutland and last week a very large American Mink (750mm long inc. tail) invaded our chicken house 11pm at night. It got two hens, the rest were going crazy. We went out there with torches but didn’t know what it was or how dangerous it was. It was very brazen and made no signs of leaving for at least 5 minutes; we chased it along the top of the fence and chicken run. I took the opportunity of pullings its tail hard when it was hanging over the edge of the hen house roof. The mink squealed nicely! Dad gave it a swipe with a hoe and then it decided we meant business and dissapeared over the fence.

  4. ... says:

    I volunteered at an animal rescue today and was invited into a mink’s enclosure (there were no incidents of unprovoked attacks), little did the staff know that I was on my period. As soon as I walked in she (the mink) was under foot, started climbing up my pant leg, and began biting before I put a hand on her. For about a minute I was sitting there waiting for the staff to get it off in a humane and safe manner. She wouldn’t let go, but only release enough to readjust her mouth and bite harder. Eventually, the staff, who was scruffing her neck, suggested I put a stick in her mouth, just in case her fangs were stuck. Instead, I put it down her throat, which did the trick. However, the staff released her too soon before I could get a door between us and she started chasing me, trying to get back up my leg, luckily I out ran her and she was put back into her enclosure.

    I’m okay, just bruised, swollen, and have over a dozen puncture wounds. But please be careful, their jaws are powerful. If she had my hand, it would have been broken in a few places.

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