Zoology
American Mink fishing underwater

American Mink Diet



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American Mink fishing underwater
Brandy Smith - 652469's image for:
"American Mink Diet"
Caption: American Mink fishing underwater
Location: 
Image by: Brian Bevan
© Ardea Prints http://www.mediastorehouse.com/american_mink_swimming_underwater_side_view/print/1448513.html

The North American Mink is not as soft-hearted when it comes to eating as the plush feeling of a Mink coat might lead you to think, they are very aggressive predators.  The North American Mink is a solely carnivorous (meat-eater) animal, they mostly feast on rodents, fish, amphibians, crustaceans and birds.  Any vertebrate (any animal with a back bone) larger, equal or smaller in size to the Mink is fair prey.  Being nocturnal animals, American Mink do most of their hunting at night, but will come out in the daytime.  Due to the North American Minks extremely sharp canine’s they kill by biting their prey in the back of the neck.  Depending on the location of the Mink also shapes its food supply.  Many are very capable fishers but due to their poor eyesight underwater, they typically target their prey from above and dive in to pursue; they also target frogs, freshwater mussels, snakes, clams, tadpoles, mice and muskrats having the ability to follow them underwater and into their burrows.  Many North American Minks are also cunning and vicious enough to kill Marsh rabbits as well.

In winter an American Mink’s diet is predominantly aquatic based foods such as fish, frogs, crustaceans, voles and aquatic insects, however in the spring they stray towards land based mammals; shrews, rodents, moles, and 11 different bird species. The name of the American Mink can be misleading, they are not only found in America.  In the Russian Far East, American Mind feed on amphipods, in the British Isles their eating habits change frequently with both season and region, but most commonly enjoy European Rabbits.  American Mink have been associated with the decline in Water Vole in the UK and the decline of Water Fowl across Europe. However, recently it has been discovered that American Mink of an appetite for poultry, although they are not considered much of a threat because they do not in engage in surplus killing, they limit themselves to only what they can eat. Mostly it appears American Mink kill and eat their prey, however noticing some have been attracted to traps using carcasses as bait, it can be assumed that they will scavenge food if it is found readily available.

Basically, if you are planning on setting a bait trap for an American Mink, avoid the fruits and veggies and go directly for some nice freshly killed raw meat, and keep your fingers out of the way.

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