Everglades Animal Profile: The Everglades Mink
Tucked into the freshwater marshes of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress Swamp, within the hollows of fallen trees or living in the shade of tree roots, one might find a furry, chocolate brown, beady black-eyed member of the weasel family commonly known as the Everglades Mink. This mink is 1 of 3 species of American minks that call Florida ‘home’ and this is the only mink in Southwest Florida. A semi-aquatic, carnivorous, nocturnal mammal that feasts on smaller mammals, snakes, frogs and insects, the Everglades Mink lives a solitary existence except during mating season. In the Spring, female minks have their litter of 3-6 pups, which stay with them until Fall.
The Everglades Mink may squeal, hiss and snarl when startled. As well, they release a putrid liquid that stinks similar to skunk spray. The odorous liquid serves as both a warning to potential predators and an indicator of presence to other mink. If you see a mink sneaking on its stomach, it’s most likely stalking prey. When they set out for travels, they do so in a fast scurry. If you see mink on the move, you may want to check the weather because they tend to increase in activity as storms approach.
Although not Federally listed, the Everglades Mink is state designated as threatened and is protected by the Florida Endangered & Threatened Species Rule. Changes in the water level within the marshes from drainage, logging, along with construction of dikes, canals and roads all lead to destruction of habitat. The rise of invasive species, particularly the burmese python, gives rise to further threat of the Everglades Mink. In fact, until the fur of one of these smallish creatures was found in the belly of an alligator in 2011, many thought there were none left in the Everglades.