- October 23, 2020
Mink in Ireland
Mink is a member of the weasel family. The species found in Ireland is the American Mink, which is bigger than the European Mink. Mink are usually escapees from the mink farms that were established here in the 1950s and 1960s. In general, they are 45-60 centimeters in length, including a bushy 12-18cm tail, and weigh between 700 grams and 1.4kg. The escaped animals readily adapted to their new environment and spread rapidly, establishing themselves at the top of the food chain. Their typical habitat includes streams, rivers, ponds, marshes, swamps, or lakes.
Mink will attack animals up to the size of a chicken, duck, rabbit, or even a new born lamb. Like some other members of the weasel family, mink can exhibit surplus killing behavior when presented with an abundance of food, such as in a poultry house full of chickens. Mink are capable of eating significant numbers of nesting waterfowl and young game birds. In addition, they kill fish of all species including ornamental pond fish. They typically kill their prey by biting them through the skull or neck. Two closely-spaced neat skin punctures on the neck or skull are an almost-sure sign of a mink kill.
Mink are not protected in Ireland. They have a negative effect on fish stocks and waterfowl, and are regarded as a pest. Although they are not hunted commercially in Ireland, they may be humanely trapped and terminated for control reasons.
As with foxes and feral cats, mink are very aggressive when cornered, so any necessary control should only be carried out by a professional wildlife control specialist.
Useful information can be found on Mink here
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