Notes on the food of feral mink Mustela vison in England and Wales



There is some apprehension about the possible effect of the introduced American mink Mustela vison upon the indigenous British fauna, either as a predator exerting new and excessive pressure upon native prey species, or as a carnivore competing for prey resources against native carnivores. Concern is also felt by preservers of game, and by keepers of small domestic animals (poultry and rabbits) about the mink's potential as a pest. To investigate the food habits of the mink in England and Wales the alimentary canals of 1165 trapped animals were examined, yielding 204 samples for analysis. The resulting information provides a general picture of the mink's diet, including seasonal variations. Comparisons were possible with similar work carried out in other countries, and with the diets of other British carnivores. Tentative conclusions were reached regarding the broad pattern of food relationships between the mink and other British animals, wild and domestic.