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American Mink (Mustela vison)

American mink


  • Adult weight is about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds)
  • Total body length ranges from 65 to 75 centimetres (25 to 30 inches).


  • Distinguishing traits include a dark, brown to black coat, sometimes with white spots on the chin and chest.
  • In Alberta, the American mink can be found in the boreal, foothill and Rocky Mountain (the montane subregion) natural regions.
Natural History


  • The mink is a semi-aquatic weasel and is seldom seen far from watercourses.
  • The scent from a mink's musk glands is used to mark its territory; although the musk smells worse than that of a skunk, it cannot be sprayed for defence.


  • Diet includes:
    • Ducks
    • Fish
    • Muskrat
    • Other small birds and rodents

When Active

  • The mink is a nocturnal hunter, active at night.
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Mating generally occurs in March.
  • Five to six young are born in May, usually in an abandoned muskrat den.
Conservation and Management


The American mink is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


The American mink may be hunted during an open season by the holder of a trapping licence. See details in the Alberta Guide to Trapping Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:


Page Information

Updated: Mar 30, 2012