Like Otters, Mink are semi-aquatic animals and like ferrets, they require hours of playtime each day to keep them entertained and exercised. Part of the weasel family, mink look very similar to ferrets, however, they have not been domesticated so their temperament is more like a wild animal. They have been bred for their fur quality, not their personality!
Mink are still bred in many countries to supply fur for the fashion industry, although over the last few years, a large percentage of these countries have established strict guidelines to protect the animals’ welfare. Most mink that are kept as pets are rescued from fur farms. As with ferrets and otters, you will require a permit to own a mink.
You may also be able to purchase mink from a broker or breeder, but they are not common and they too require a permit to own, breed and sell them. The average price in US states is $250, however, prices do vary per state.
There are three different coat colors; black, jaguar (black and white) or seal (grey). Occasionally, a breeder or broker may sell a mink with a brown coat which is their natural color in the wild.
Do mink make good pets?
Mink are similar in their care requirements to both ferrets and otters. The most important thing is that they are kept in a secure enclosure. Mink are escape artists and can easily bend wire cages. It is best to purchase a custom-built cage with closely spaces wire panels. A tall enclosure with multiple levels provides opportunities for mink to climb and explore.
If you are keeping their cage indoors then you will need to allow your mink daily bath time. Being semi-aquatic, mink need access to water so they can swim and exercise. In the wild, they would hunt in water for fish and crustaceans.
They are easily bored if left alone, so you must be able to devote at least 3 hours per day to play with your mink. This includes playing with cat toys, making your own enrichment objects and swimming time. Mink love ball pits, tunnels and hides. Anything that gives them the opportunity to explore and play is great for preventing stress.
Their diet must be exclusively meat as they are carnivores. The best diet to feed them is a high protein, high-fat mink kibble supplemented with raw meat such as rabbit, duck and deer. You can also give fish or crustaceans as this mimics their diet in the wild.