- Mustela vison Schreber, 1777
No status defined
Value of species
Game (hunting) species
Commonly included in Mustela, separated accordingly to Abramov (2000). Cytogenetic and biochemical data support placement of the American Mink and Sea Mink in the genus Neovison rather than in Mustela (Wozencraft 2005).
The species occurs in North America from Alaska and Canada through the United States except Arizona and the dry parts of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and western Texas. The American Mink was deliberately introduced as a fur animal in Russia and in other parts of Europe. As a result of escapes and intentional releases, the species is now naturalised in many parts of Europe after very rapid increase in some countries but only uncertain colonisation of some others (Mitchell-Jones et al. 1999, Bonesi and Palazon 2007, Hegyeli and Kecskés 2014). Feral populations of American Mink also occur in Japan (Hokkaido; Kishimoto 2005) and in South America (Previtali et al. 1998) in southern Argentina and Chile (Jaksic et al. 2002).
Generally abundant throughout its distribution (Larivière 1999). Population density of about 1-8/km² have been recorded (Nowak 2005). In good habitat, density may be 9-22 per sq. mile (Banfield 1974).
This species is found along streams and lakes as well as in swamps and marshes. It prefers densely vegetated areas. It dens under stones or the roots of trees, in expropriated beaver Castor or Muskrat Ondatra houses, or in self-excavated burrows (Nowak 2005). The species can be found in xeric habitats if food is abundant (Arnold and Fritzell 1990).
Strictly carnivorous, its diet reflects the local prey base (Ben-David et al. 1997). Typical prey are fish, amphibians, crustaceans, Muskrats, and small mammals (Day and Linn 1972, Chanin and Linn 1980, Birks and Dunstone 1985, Bueno 1994). Many other prey can be taken occasionally (Larievière 1999). Males have large home ranges that extend for a half mile or more along waterways and overlap with the smaller home ranges of several females (Wilson and Ruff 1999).