Name: American Mink
Scientific name: Mustela vison
Nature Stars: 50
About: Mink escaped from fur farms in the 1950s and 1960s, and now breed across most of the country. They are active predators, feeding on anything they are big enough to catch. They hunt on the river banks and also swim, and they have been particularly good at catching and eating Water Voles, which have become extinct across much of the country as a result. Mink are much smaller than otters, only about 35cm long with a tail of about 15cm. Mink are much more likely to be seen than the shy otter.
How to identify: Mink can be told from otters by their smaller size, darker, almost black fur with a small white chin and throat. An otter is about as big as a grown-up's leg: a mink is about as big as a grown-up's arm.
Where: Widespread, now found throughout the country except the far north of Scotland and some islands.
Fantastic fact: Young mink are called Kits.
Photograph credit: Neil Phillips