Thursday, February 28, 2008

Squirrel for Breakfast

This morning while cleaning the snapping turtle tank, I looked out the window of the nature center and, to my surprise, saw something tunneling under the snow towards me. All of a sudden, a little brown head popped out of the snow- it was a mink! The mink jumped out of the snow and ran along the side of the nature center into some bushes across from the bird feeders. At this time there were two squirrels on the feeder eating, and one on the ground cleaning up scraps. Suddenly, the mink bounded from the bushes towards the squirrel on the ground. The mink pounced on the squirrel and began wrestling with it. The two flopped around in the snow for about a minute, until the mink had the squirrel's neck firmly held with its jaws. The mink trotted back toward the bushes and ran alongside the nature center with its kill, until it was out of sight. During the battle in the snow I had enough time to grab the camera. The shots are a little grainy, but you can make them out.

Wrestling in the snow. You can see the dark colored mink grabbing the gray squirrel.

Mink running off with squirrel

The tunnel the mink made as it burrowed through the snow

The view through the nature center window. You can see where something was burrowing under the snow!

The hideout spot in the bushes. You can see the tracks the mink made as it left

Minks are carnivores whose diet consists of small mammals, birds, eggs, frogs, crayfish, and fish. They are mostly nocturnal and solitary. They prefer habitats close to water and will den along streams or lake banks.

Want to see a mink up close, or feel its fur? Stop by the Hansen Nature Center where you can do both!

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