Mink on the Move!

Photo credit: Scottish Natural Heritage

During August and September juvenile American mink will start to disperse leaving their home territories. Mink are not a natural part of our ecosystems but were introduced through the fur trade in the early-mid 20th century. They are ferocious hunters and their presence has a devastating effect on North East wildlife including water voles which are one of our most vulnerable mammals.

Mink are, for the most part, solitary animals and will travel large distances (up to 80km) to take up new territories. Female mink, now free from the constraints of feeding young, will also spend more time away from their dens so may be more visible.

We are working with partners to develop a regional approach to water vole conservation and need to understand which areas of the North East mink are moving through and establishing territories in. Please keep vigilant when you are out and about near rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and coast and let us know if you see mink or find tell-tale signs.

American mink are smaller and darker in colour than otters. They are strong swimmers and are often seen hunting on bank-sides or near open water bodies.   Droppings can be a useful indicator of recent mammal activity and mink will often leave their ‘business’ or ‘scat’ on prominent features along water course –rocks, logs and under bridges. Mink scat is smaller than otter spraint and -for those who feel brave enough – lacks the musky-sweet aroma of otter sprain!

If you do spot mink anywhere in the North East please let us know.  Email Kirsty kpollard@durhamwt.co.uk or call 0191 584 3112.

If you would like to help monitor riparian mammals using trail cameras why not come along to our camera training event and loan scheme session on Tuesday 3rd September at Willow Road Community Centre in Darlington at 7.15pm. You can book your place here.