[Well, I’ve been corrected by several readers as to the identification of this mammal. Having read regular reports of Short-tailed Weasels at this location, and not having heard of a Mink being sighted there, I made a wrong assumption. My thanks to the folks who set me straight. -Marc Hoffman]
I had a fun surprise yesterday while watching a female Common Merganser as it swam, preened, and fished along the weir at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. In the background, I noticed a tiny, otter-like head poke up and swim across the strong current. As it climbed onto the rocky shore, I could see it was a Long-Tailed Weasel an American Mink.
Adult Mink measure about 12-18 inches long. They spend much of their time in or around water, swimming with an undulating motion of the body. Adept hunters, they feed on fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and other small animals, often delivering a fatal bite to the head or neck. Audubon reported seeing a Mink carrying a foot-long trout.
Mink have been farmed for their fur. They can be kept as pets but are known for biting their owners, so must be handled with gloves.
Still, they’re awfully cute, don’t you agree?