Explaining the characteristics, ecology, and habitat of the European mink


We will explain the characteristics, ecology, and habitat of the European mink (Mustela lutreola). The European mink used to be widespread throughout Europe, but their numbers have decreased considerably and the situation is critical. They are listed as an endangered species because their numbers have become so small.

What is European mink? About basic status

The European mink is a carnivorous animal classified in the order Mammalia, order Felidae (order Carnivora), suborder Canis, family Mustelidae, genus Mustela. Body length is 28-43cm. The weight is 0.5-0.8 kg and the tail length is 12-19 cm. The scientific name is Mustela lutreola.

English(英名)European mink
scientific name(学名)Mustela lutreola
classification(分類)Mammalia、 Carnivora、Mustelidae、Mustela

About classification

The European mink family is said to be a branch of the American mink. There are also variants such as:

  • Mustela lutreola lutreola 
  • Mustela lutreola biedermani 
  • Mustela lutreola torovi 

About habitat

The European mink lives in Ukraine, Spain, France, and Romania. It used to be distributed in Serbia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Kazakhstan, but a large number of them have become extinct.

feature is? What kind of creature is it?

The European mink is characterized by a long upper coat and multiple undercoats surrounding it, and its body color is dark brown or reddish brown. The auricles are small and webbed. In the summer, the body is covered with brown fur, and in the winter, it becomes dark-colored. It is nocturnal and lives in forests and reed beds near water. They prefer to live alone and are quite territorial. European mink are most active before dawn and in the evening. The home range is about 200 to 2,000 meters.

What is the ecology like?

The European mink eats small mammals such as mice, birds, amphibians, crustaceans, fish, and insects. Breeding occurs from February to March every year. The gestation period is 35 to 70 days, and it is possible to give birth to 4 to 5 puppies at a time. Children are weaned by 10 weeks of age. Their lifespan is approximately 8 years in captivity.

Are there any natural enemies?

The European mink’s predators include hawks and eagles.

Is the European mink an endangered species?

Once widely distributed, the European mink has disappeared from more than 85% of its habitat and is at risk of extinction. Why has it decreased so much? Reintroductions are being planned and implemented to protect the European mink. The current estimated population is 1,000 to 1,500 individuals.

hunting for fur

Mink fur can be made into coats, etc. Their winter fur is especially dense and thick, making them very valuable. Apparently they were hunted for their fur. As a result, their population is rapidly decreasing.

habitat destruction

The European mink has become unable to survive due to environmental changes caused by human activities.

Bringing in American mink

American mink were brought from the United States to European fur farms in the early 1900s for the production of high-value fur. The European mink is now on the verge of extinction, as the artificially introduced American mink has displaced the European mink.

Can European mink be bred?

Unfortunately, as they are listed as an endangered species, their population is extremely low, making it almost impossible for the average person to keep them.


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