An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Bringing Home The Bacon (or frog)

4-8-19 mink and frog _U1A6079Mink spend much of their time foraging in saltwater marshes, swamps and small wooded streams. They are excellent swimmers, and can swim to a depth of over 18 feet and for a distance of 100 yards. Fish make up roughly 40 percent of their diet, but they also prey on frogs, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, mice, chipmunks, muskrats, crayfish, insects and snails, among other creatures. Like other members of the weasel family, mink kill large prey with a bite to the nape of the neck.

The pictured mink swam to the ice-littered bank of an open stream, crawled under a large slab of ice and emerged minutes later with a very muddy frog in its mouth. With a foot of snow on the ground and mostly frozen wetlands, it was unquestionably a hibernating frog that the mink managed to unearth.

Sometimes mink eat their prey on the spot, or carry it back to their dens. It’s possible (though fairly early in the season) that once this mink arrived at its den it was greeted by up to ten offspring (each the size of a cigarette when born). The parents typically raise their young in a stream bank cavity roughly a foot in diameter which they line with fur, feathers or plant material. The family stays together through the summer and can sometimes be seen foraging together prior to dispersing in the fall.

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7 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Clever Mink. I’ve heard Frog legs taste like chicken….and it’s gourmet food in France.

    April 8, 2019 at 11:45 am

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    One of the other creatures they kill with abandon is the chicken. I’ve had a mink kill half of my flock, 6 birds, and injure a few others. They just bite a hole in the back of the head. I guess they lap out the blood, and then move to the next chicken. Pretty ruthless!

    April 8, 2019 at 12:18 pm

  3. Allison

    Our wildlife cameras (in Whately, MA) have captured mink hunting hibernating frogs under the ice in early March!

    April 8, 2019 at 12:20 pm

  4. Reuben Rajala

    Thanks for a most incredible photo!

    April 8, 2019 at 1:05 pm

  5. Char Delabar


    April 8, 2019 at 5:54 pm

  6. carterwild

    Beautiful animal!

    April 9, 2019 at 7:11 am

  7. Ellen Halperin

    I’ve seen fishers, otters, and beavers, but never a mink. Lucky you. >

    April 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm

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