What is a Mink?
The mink belongs to the order Carnivora, which means it is carniverous – a meat-eater. The order Carnivora also includes other meat-eaters such as lions, tigers, hyenas, coyotes, and wolves. Within the order Carnivora, the mink belongs to the family Mustelidae, commonly known as the weasel family. This family also includes skunks, otters, fishers, martens and wolverines.
Within the family Mustelidae, however, the two living species of mink are now placed in different genuses. The smaller, extremely rare, European mink continues to be called Mustela lutreola, but the American mink, formerly called Mustela vison, is now called Neogale vison. A third species, the sea mink, or Neovison macrodon, was hunted to extinction in the late 19th century.
The common name “mink” comes from the Swedish word “maenk”.
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