Mink Problems

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Many of the same urban wildlife problems commonly found in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area caused by the American Mink are similar to problems with weasels.Mink Problems in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Many of the same urban wildlife problems commonly found in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area caused by the American Mink (Neovison vison) are similar to problems with weasels. Just like the weasel, minks are carnivores (meat-eaters), solitary and territorial in nature, and rather than building their own burrow they will take over dens abandoned by other animals. They also do not hibernate and are most active at night just like weasels.

Physical characteristics are also quite similar since both minks and weasels have long slim bodies with short legs. Known for their beautiful fur (which is "farmed" from domestic mink rather than wild mink) the mink's glossy, thick dark brown fur and partially webbed feet distinguishes it from the weasel.

When Minks Find Food and Shelter on Your Property...

The American Mink likes to live in wooded areas and fields near streams and lakes. Their partially webbed feet makes them excellent swimmers capable of hunting both aquatic and terrestrial prey. They can dive under water to capture fish, crayfish, and frogs. They can also capture terrestrial prey like birds, snakes, mice, voles, and rabbits.

Just like the Long Tailed Weasel, mink can be beneficial in that they help control rodent populations. But since they also eat birds and chickens, mink can be especially troublesome for breeders of quail, pheasant, chickens and other small birds including ducks living around your pond. Their long, sleek design, helps them to easily access chicken coops or other animal holding cages where they can kill several of the captive prey animals in a short period of time. Once they learn of a good food supply, they will be persistent and resilient.

Weasels can present health and safety concerns...

Transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) is a prion (proteinaceous infectious particle) disease of primarily ranch-raised domestic mink. Since domestic mink are being released into the wild in increasing numbers, this disease may also spread into the wild mink population. Testing has revealed that TME is transmissible between mink, cattle and sheep. It is similar to Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and scrapie in sheep.

Is it a Mink?

If you suspect mink are destroying your chickens, quail, pheasant, and other small birds in holding cages, here are some ways to determine if they are the culprit. Clues include:

  • Mink tracks look like tiny kitten prints.
  • Minks don't usually eat the chickens they kill. Sometimes they slash their throats and drink the blood, other times they bite the heads off.
  • Large numbers of birds have been killed. Mink kill more than they need and sometimes they line them up in a row.

The Best Solution...

While prevention of the problem is the first approach, once mink have found a home on your property, trapping and removal may be the only effective solution. An effective and safe trapping plan will include:

  • Identifying points of access
  • Identifying nesting sites
  • Determining the number of animals using the site
  • Establishing whether offspring are present

Traps must be set so as not to endanger non-targeted animals (such as pets), and to securely and quickly trap the mink. Care must be taken to capture and remove babies, if present, as well.

Nesting sites must be safely cleaned, sanitized and deodorized. Once all of the problem mink are removed, repair of property damage and improvements to prevent re-infestation by other minkm must be conducted using professional-grade materials and workmanship.

If you live in the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area and mink are creating a nuisance, trapping and removal may be the only long-term, cost-effective solution. Trapping should be conducted by a trained, licensed professional to protect your family and your property as well as to ensure humane removal of the animals. A professional animal control expert can fully assess and address your animal nuisance problem.


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