Bringing Home The Bacon (or frog)
Mink 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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