American Mink

Neovision vison

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. American Mink


Mink escaped from fur farms in the 1950s and 1960s, and now breed across most of the country. They are active predators, feeding on anything they are big enough to catch, including our native Water Voles, which are now under threat of extinction. They hunt on the riverbanks and are good swimmers, enabling them to enter the water-line burrows of Water Voles. Mink are much more likely to be seen than the shy and secretive Otter.

How to identify

Mink can be distinguished from Otters by their smaller size, darker, almost black fur, and small white chin and throat.

Where to find it

Widespread, now found throughout the country except the far north of Scotland and some islands.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The non-native American Mink is a major threat to the survival of our native Water Vole. Adapting well to a life on our waterways, the American Mink has the capability of wiping out whole Water Vole populations; female Mink are small enough to enter the burrows and take young Water Voles. The Wildlife Trusts are working hard to save the Water Vole by improving riverbank habitats, controlling Mink and being involved in Water Vole reintroduction schemes. Volunteers are needed to help with everything from monitoring populations to riverbank restoration. So why not have a go at volunteering for your local Trust? You'll make new friends, learn new skills and help wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
American Mink
Latin name
Neovision vison
Length: 35cm plus a tail of 15cm Weight: 0.5-1.5kg Average lifespan: 8 years
Conservation status
Invasive, non-native species.