European Mink Fact Sheet

Common Name:

European Mink

Scientific Name:

Mustela lutreola

Wild Status:

Critically Endangered






Burrows and Temporary Dugouts

Life Span:

6 years


16.5 inches long

Cool Facts:

  • European Minks are closely related to the European Pole Cats and Siberian Weasels
  • They are declining steadily in their native range.
  • Their nests are lined with mosses, grasses, feathers and animals furs.
  • European Minks have a wide diet of smaller animals.
  • They have large broad heads, small ears and dark brown fur.
  • The European Minks is a smaller semi-aquatic mammal.


The European Minks are small, beautiful mammals that reach about 17 inches for males and 15 inches for females. They have skulls specialized for eating a carnivorous diet with a dentition to match. Found primarily in Europe, they live a life that is semi-aquatic and are actually good at swimming and diving.  Many people think that they are related to the American Mink, but this is incorrect.  The European Mink is facing many struggles in the wild, like over hunting, but you can learn about the rest in the blog. Minks in general have a highly prized fur coat which is designed for aquatic adventures and during winter seasons the coat is thick and heavy.  Their litters are usually around 7 kits that as you can imagine are very adorable.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class:  Mammalia
  • Order:  Muselidae
  • Genus: Mustela
  • Species: Mustela lutreola

Conservation & Helping:

European Minks are considered critically endangered in their native range due to multiple natural and human inflicted causes.  The first and most well known reason for the population decline that led to them being classified as critically endangered is over hunting.  Minks in generally are hunted for furs and it certain areas they have been over hunted.  Humans have also put European Minks under pressure from changes in habitat, due to building, along with habitat destruction. European Minks are have also seen population declines due to being attacked by predators, competition with American Minks and other animals and a decline in the food sources most commonly used by the European Mink.  Researchers state that this species is steadily declining, so we hope that by classifying this animal as critically endangered will help with a population turn around.  Click here to learn more and explore the European Mink center in the kids zone'!  

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