Public Asked to Share Mink Sightings
FWC biologists want to know more about mink, and they’re asking the public to help them gather information. These semi-aquatic animals are typically found in or near water but appear to be quite rare in Florida. Mink’s secretive nature makes them very difficult to study, and biologists know little about their distribution and abundance.
Mink looking out of den. Photo credit: Patrick Leary
To meet this challenge and improve our understanding of this species, the FWC launched a Web-based reporting system that allows Florida residents to share mink sightings with biologists.
This user-friendly reporting system has a Google Maps tool that helps citizens to easily locate and mark mink sightings, as well as comment fields in which people can share notes on mink behavior and habitat use. Those who are lucky enough to snap pictures of one of the elusive critters can also attach photos to their reports.
Since the inception of the mink reporting system, citizens have shared more than 80 sightings, including several pictures of mink in their natural habitat and tracks left behind in the sand and mud.
The FWC would like to thank everyone who has submitted a report for their contributions to mink research and encourages citizens to keep a watchful eye for these notoriously shy animals. The more information citizens share through the reporting system, the better biologists will be able to evaluate the status of mink in Florida.
If you see mink in Florida, please share your sighting in the FWC’s online reporting system. If you have questions about the reporting system or general inquiries about mink or associated research, please contact FWC wildlife biologist Chris Winchester at Chris.Winchester@MyFWC.com.
What do mink look like?
Mink are relatively small with a long sleek body, thick tail, small ears and small eyes. Mink are typically 1.5 to 2.5 feet long from nose to tip of the tail and weigh up to 4 pounds as adults. Mink have a dark-chocolate colored body and, on occasion, a small patch of white along the chin and throat. They can be confused with otters and weasels. Otters look similar to mink but are much larger in size, weighing 10 to 30 pounds. Weasels are smaller than mink and have a distinctive bicolor appearance, with brown fur along the back and a yellow belly.
Mink napping on oyster shells. Photo credit: Patrick Leary
Where can you find mink?
For reasons unknown, mink appear to be absent from the freshwater streams, rivers and wetlands of central and northern Florida. In this part of the state, mink are more likely to be seen in salt-marsh habitat along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. In southern Florida, mink can be found in the freshwater and saltwater marshes of the Everglades. Some known mink hotspots include salt-marsh areas near Fort Clinch State Park and Big Talbot Island State Parks, Cedar Key Scrub State Preserve and the forest of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Mink tracks on sandy beach. Photo credit: Patrick Leary