What Do Minks Eat: Complete List of What Minks Prey On

Minks are excellent predators and are able to kill and feed on many animals, But exactly what do minks eat?

Minks are aggressive and are able to kill and feed on many animals, including mammals, birds, rodents, fish, insects, berries, eggs, and other creatures. But exactly what do minks eat? Here’s the list, with some details.

What do minks eat – diet overview

Minks are carnivores and members of the Mustelidae family of mammals. As such, most of their diet will predominantly be protein-based meat. But they do still have an extended range of food types they can draw on

In general, a mink’s diet consists of a mix of large prey items, including muskrats, rabbits, and even beavers. Along with small mammals such as voles, rats, shrews, and squirrels. Minks also eat reptiles insects and arthropods, nuts and berries, fruit and vegetables.

Generally, minks are categorized as crepuscular, which means they are active mostly during the hours around dawn and dusk. They spend much of their time marking their territory, scavenging, and looking for suitable prey.

Minks are excellent climbers too, they can climb trees and swim underwater to catch prey, which provides a more extended array to their diet.

See also – Are minks dangerous, along with what other animals eat rats.

So read on to find out more about what minks eat, or see our Ranger Planet YouTube Channel video below listing what minks eat.

Minks eat mammals

What types of mammals do minks hunt? As carnivores, a large portion of a mink’s diet is mammals, many of which are rodents and small mammals, such as rabbits, ground squirrels, chipmunks, voles, shrews, rats, muskrats, and mice.

See also:

Mice – Mouse predators

Mice – What do mice eat

Groundhogs – What do groundhogs eat

Squirrels – What do squirrels eat

Rabbits – What eats rabbits.

Rats – What eats rats

Other mammals include weasels and moles. As carnivores that generally prefer meat with high protein levels over plant matter (unlike squirrels for example), most mammals make good food for these small but aggressive hunters.

Muskrats can sometimes be obtained at their dens in wintertime when snow obscures them from view above ground level, but cottontail rabbits seem to provide the bulk of food eaten by minks throughout most parts of North America

Minks eat birds

Mink prey on many different kinds of bird species, including the common grackle, pheasant, chickens, wild turkey, grouse, pigeon, woodcock, coots, ducks, and moorhens.

Other birds include house sparrows, starlings, rock doves, partridges, and more. Birds make up about half of a minks diet and the most commonly eaten bird is the common grackle.

See also:

Herons – What do herons eat

Robins – What eats Robins

How do minks catch birds?

As minks are expert climbers, they will attack birds in their nests as well as on perches, or simply on the ground, provided they can use the element of surprise to catch them.

Minks eat fish

Minks like to live near water and are excellent swimmers, so they often feed on fish. Minks will eat anything from trout to carp in the water when they can find it. Other fish that minks feed on include pike, sunfish, bluegill, muskellunge, perch, bass, and bullheads.

Ducks – Do ducks eat fish

Penguins – Do seals eat penguins

Fish – What is a female fish called

what do minks eat

Minks eat insects, arthropods, and annelids

Foraging and scavenging are what minks do for much of the time. So minks will happily search for and eat insects, arthropods, and annelids such as earthworms, grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. As well as other small invertebrates such as slugs and spiders.

Aquatic crustaceans include crabs, lobsters, copepods, and shrimps.

You might also like how does fly spray work?

Or where do dragonflies live? And do they bite?

Minks eat amphibians

Mink are semi-aquatic animals, they are very much at home in the water.

Many amphibians will fall prey to a mink, including salamanders, frogs like the wood frog and green frog, newts such as the spotted salamander, or eastern red-spotted newt. Other amphibian prey includes the hellbender, spring peeper, and gray treefrog.

See also:

How Long Can Frogs Stay Underwater? What About Other Amphibians?

Minks eat reptiles

Minks prey on a variety of reptiles, such as snakes like the northern water snake, eastern ribbon snake, and fox snake, and the red-eared slider lizard,

They will also prey upon turtles such as snapping turtles or spiny softshell turtles.

However, minks are not immune to the venom of a snapping turtle bite and can die from one if they attempt to capture it without fully disabling it.

Other reptiles that minks eat include the common snapping turtle, spotted turtle, mole salamander, red-eared slider lizard.

Minks eat nuts and berries

In both the wild and in captivity, minks will eat berries such as blueberries, wild grapes, and blackberries, acorns, hazelnuts, and plums. as well as other wild berries like mulberries and raspberries.

Minks eat fruit and vegetables

Minks eat fruit such as apples, cherries, and pears that they find on trees. Also, minks eat crops such as beets, carrots, and turnips. They also like plants rich in protein such as edamame, broccoli, and spinach leaves.

What do minks eat over winter?

During the cold months of winter and the months of fall leading up to it, minks will mostly rely on their stored food to survive. Minks often kill more than they need and will store food in their dens.

During winter minks will eat berries, nuts, and even birds’ eggs if they’re available during that time in order to survive. Minks will eat whatever is available when it comes to food for survival, even eating leftover prey from other animals.

See also:

Swans – Where do swans go in winter

What do minks eat in summer?

Minks generally consume their prey at night. So it’s as easy for them to see what they’re eating during the winter months as much as the summer months. Spring and summer provide a bountiful array of foods for minks. They can gorge on the full spectrum of foods available to them.

What do baby minks eat?

Initially, baby minks drink milk from their mother until they are able to hunt for themselves. Baby mink are able to hunt for themselves from around four months old.

After four months of age, a mink will eat birds, mammals, berries, eggs, and other foods much the same as its mink parents.

See also:

Robins – What do baby robins eat

Do minks eat each other?

Minks can be very aggressive in nature, and their predatory instinct triggers them to attack and kill each other when nothing else to eat is available. In captivity, they are kept in separate cages during their taming period by breeders or vets as they are vulnerable to being attacked and killed by each other.

Minks are friendly when they are playfellows, but when they are not, they may fight and kill each other. They are likely to eat each other after battling.

See also:

Lions – Do lions eat lions

What are some good food to feed minks?

Minks are difficult to domesticate. But if they are in captivity then some foods that you can feed mink are raw meat, raw fish, fruit and vegetables, nuts and other pulses, and berries.

What do minks eat

I’ve added a shareable image below, so be sure to share it with those who would like to see a quick reference. Be sure to check out my other articles on all kinds of wildlife subjects.

what do minks eat


A Certified Ecologist and an Entomologist, Michael has been interested in all aspects of Nature for many years. It's only now he's decided, along with his partner Fran, to begin documenting what he knows.

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