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Latin Name: Mustela vison
Months of Activity: January - December
Mink was introduced to the UK from the United States in 1929, primarily to be bred for its fur. However, a large number of these captive animals escaped and quickly adapted to living in the British countryside.
Today, the mink population is well established across England, Scotland and Wales, but being carnivores, they pose a significant threat to game birds, fish and poultry as well as other species indigenous to the UK.
The mink breeding season lasts between April and May with only one litter being produced per year. The litter usually contains between 5 and 6 kittens, but litters of up to 10 young have been known.
They tend to live near water and are seldom found far from riverbanks, lakes and marshes. The main source of food is fish, especially eels, but mink will also eat rabbits, birds, and other small mammals. The lifespan of wild mink is relatively short, averaging 2-3 years although some animals have been known to live for several years.
Mink will devastate the wildlife in it's territory, preying on anything it can kill, even ducks. The best method of pest control is to enforce a regular trapping programme – something which should only be implemented by a trained pest control officer. The most popular baits for mink trapping are rabbit, liver, or pigeon breasts but any fish type bait like pilchards or kippers has been proven to work equally well.
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