Gauja National Park, Līgatne Nature Trails
American mink (Neovison vison) was introduced in Latvia during the Soviet period in the habitat of the closely related species – the European mink Mustela lutreola – with the intention of replacing the native species with a new species with a better birth rate, a larger size of skin that could be harvested for fur and other economic benefits. The American mink poses a threat to Latvia’s nature, by endangering the survival of the native species.
The American mink is a medium-sized predator. The length of its body (without the tail) for males 34-47 cm, for females – 31-38 cm, weight of males – 0,6-1,7 kg, females – 0,4-1 kg. The tail is slightly longer than ½ of the length of the body. Its body is elongated with relatively short limbs. The digits of its feet are webbed. The pads of its feet are almost bare. Its fur is a solid colour, dark coffee brown or brownish-black – only its underside is slightly lighter in colour. The colour of farmed American mink varies.
Unlike the European mink, the American mink is slightly larger, and the chin and lower lip (not upper lip) might be white.
Manner of introduction
Released into the European part of the former Soviet Union into the habitat of the European mink with the aim to replace the native species as one with a higher birth rate, larger fur area and other economic benefits.
Characteristics of preferred habitat
Primarily a twilight animal, often chooses the shores of small, steep, rivers rich in fish with ice-free sections, estuaries and wide floodplains, as well as shores of lakes. Unlike the European mink, also inhabitslarger rivers (and estuaries) and the shores and islands habitats of overgrown lakes. Inhabits urban territories and frequents city canals and other watercourses.
Familiarize yourself with invasive species and submit your observataions to: “Invazīvo sugu pārvaldnieks”.
Source: “Invazīvo sugu pārvaldnieks”, Nature Conservation Agency