Researchers seek to learn more about Mink

Article from Cryptozoology Online

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Wildwood is hosting researchers from Oxford to test equipment to learn more about mink in the wild.

The team from Oxford University WildCRU (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit), have put a collar on the mink which will record depth and temperature. This will allow future researchers to use the equipment on wild mink to learn more about their movements especially how they dive.

It is hoped that the research will help to see what mink are doing in the wild, by seeing the pattern of activity of the mink over long periods of time. The new data logger is the latest and smallest of its type, and is being tested in a controlled situation at the park.

“The data logger is very clever it measures the temperature and depth of water in which the mink is swimming” commented Joanna Bagniewska, WildCRU researcher “The whole unit is no bigger than a boiled sweet and the collar is very similar to ones used on cats.”

This is very important as the mink is one of the major causes of the fall in water vole populations since it escaped in to the British countryside so learning more about how they actually behave in the wild will enable scientists to be able to protect British species like the water vole in the future.

Mink are just one of the huge range of British animals that can be seen at the Wildwood Discovery Park, for more information visit the website at http://www.wildwoodtrust.org or telephone 0871 7820087.

Wildwood is an ideal day out for all the family where you can come ‘nose to nose’ with British Wildlife. Wildwood offers its members and visitors a truly inspirational way to learn about the natural history of Britain by actually seeing the wildlife that once lived here, like the wolf, beaver, red squirrel, wild boar and many more.

Wildwood is situated close to Canterbury, just off the A291 between Herne Bay and Canterbury. For more information visit our website at http://www.wildwoodtrust.org or telephone 0871 782008.

American Mink – Neovison

The mink is a medium-sized member of the weasel family. The first American mink were brought to British fur farms in 1929 and all wild mink in Britain today are descendants of escapees. The natural wild colouring is a glossy dark brown, appearing almost black in some light. Commercial farming selectively bred much paler colours, hence most of those in the wild in Britain are a lighter brown. Mink spend up to 80% of their time in their dens, sleeping, grooming and eating food they have carried home. Frequently found near water, they are often mistaken for otters, although mink are in fact considerably smaller.

Mink are a major factor in the decimation of the water vole population, because they are small enough to follow their prey down its burrow.

Size:

Male: length of head/body 42 cm plus tail18 cm.
Female: length of head/body 36 cm plus tail 15 cm

Description:

Elongated body, relatively short legs, limited webbing between the toes, glossy dark brown coat, commonly white fur patches on chin, throat, chest and groin.

Habitat:

May be seen on every kind of waterway, streams, rivers, and canals,but are capable of living away from water provided prey, such as rabbits, small mammals and birds, is available.

Young:

Delayed implantation delays the 30 day gestation period to 39 – 42 days. Kits are born in a den lined with vegetation in April – May. One litter, 4 – 6 young. At 10 weeks they cease to depend on their mother for food. They learn to hunt with their mother. In August they disperse in search of their own territories. Females settle within 5 km of their place of birth, males 10 km May have 2 – 10 dens close to their favourite hunting grounds, usually made in the eroded roots of oaks, sycamores or willows.

Diet:

Rabbits, ducks, water voles, shrews, fish, frogs, crayfish, eels, moorhens, rats, birds and eggs are all taken by the mink.

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