Mink, a valuable fur-bearing animal of the weasel family. The three chief species are the American mink, European mink, and Asiatic mink. The adult American mink has a slender body about 18 inches (46 cm) long and a bushy tail 7 to 9 inches (18 to 23 cm) long. The fur is dull yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown above, lighter beneath. Often there are white spots on the chin and throat. The fur consists of a dense, soft underfur mixed with long, lustrous guard hair. The mink's legs are short, its feet partly webbed. Like all members of the weasel family, the mink has a musky odor.
The American mink is found in Canada and the United States. It usually makes its home in a burrow or crevice along the bank of a pond or stream. An expert swimmer and agile runner, the mink preys on fish, muskrats, birds, rabbits, rats, and mice. It may raid poultry yards at night. The mink mates in February or March. Four to eight young are born about six weeks later.
The European mink resembles the American species. Asiatic mink pelts are usually coarser and more yellowish.
The best wild pelts, dark brown in color, are taken in eastern Canada. Many of the mink pelts produced in the United States are mutation minks, from ranch-bred animals in numerous natural combinations of gray, brown, blue, and white.
The American mink is Mustela vison; European, M. lutreola; Asiatic, M. siberica. Minks belong to the family Mustelidae.