Weasels and Minks

Weasels

12308439_10156292911410615_3737521474469472755_nThese small creatures are the one of the smallest and fiercest living carnivores in the midwest area. Their size ranges from 6-9 inches, but with its speed, agility, and sharp teeth and claws, it is able to take down prey much larger than itself. Due to its small size and active lifestyle, this species typically eats between 40-60% of its body weight every day, feasting on small prey like mice, rats, chipmunks, voles, etc.  Weasels also hunt in packs, following established hunting routes; they will hunt rodents along said routes by sneaking into and hunting the rodents in their burrows.
During the winter in the north, where it gets really cold and has a lot of snow, the coat of weasels changes from summer brown to winter white. Likewise, in the south,where it stays relatively warm and doesn’t receive much (if any) snow, the coat color remains brown. The only time this becomes an issue is during on-again, off-again snow during the midst of seasonal changes. But other than those times, what an innovative way to remain a top predator during different seasons!

 

Minks

Minks are very similar to weasels. There are two species, the American Mink and the European Mink. The American is the larger of the two, weighing an average of 1150 grams and measuring an average of 58 inches in length. For comparison, European minks are about half of that size, weighing an average of 590 grams and measuring an average of 35 inches in length. Minks typically live near bodies of water, and live in dens and burrows that they dig themselves.

They are an antisocial species, interacting with each other only when it is mating season. Minks mate in the spring, and have an average gestation period of 53-58 days. A litter typically contains 3-8 kits, being weaned at 6-10 weeks. American Minks go off on their own between 6-10 months of age, and European Minks are on their own between 2-4 months of age. Sexual maturity occurs between 10-12 months of age.

Minks are carnivorous and fierce hunters, taking down prey much larger than itself. They eat rabbits, squirrels, waterfowl, birds, chipmunks, snakes–anything it is able to take down. They will even eat fish, and are excellent swimmers, thanks to their webbed feet and waterproof fur.