If you don’t get South Carolina Wildlife magazine, you are missing out. This month there is a really interesting article about mink. Mink are members of the weasel family, and are good swimmers, divers, and climbers. The article below describes a sighting along the waterway between Dewees and Capers. You are most likely to see them at dawn and dusk– so keep your eyes peeled.
Once abundant in South Carolina, there has been a fairly significant population decline in the last 50 years, possibly due to environmental contaminants. The area north of Charleston has been a location for mink reintroduction, and some of you may remember a rather dramatic scene years ago, where a family of mink were released off Big Bend Dock, just as a Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk) decided that this was an easy meal.
From the November/December article by Rob Simbeck:
Mink are active mainly at night, especially near dusk and dawn, and spend most of their time feeding. They have excellent vision, hearing, and smell and are aggressive predators, supplementing a diet of fish with crayfish, salamanders, frogs, crabs, rabbits, squirrels, muskrats, young birds, mice, ducks and chipmunks.
Mink are fearless in defending themselves from predators that include bobcats, foxes, coyotes, great horned owls, dogs, and alligators, none of which are serious threats to their population. Many are hit by cars, but development and wetland destruction are the prime threats, as they are for many other species.
Still, the signs are positive at the moment, given the efforts of the Furbearer Project to bring them back to areas that haven’t seen them for a while. It’s a scenario that is thrilling quite a few wildlife watchers. One is Henry Lemon, a Charleston pediatrician and avid outdoorsman, who dropped an email to DNR Marine Resources Deputy Director Robert Boyles about a recent encounter.
“I saw a mink (my first sighting ever) last eventing around sunset along a stretch of marshy shell bank along the Intracoastal Waterway between Dewees and Capers Inlet,” he wrote. “I’ve fished for over twenty years in Charleston and thought I’d seen it all– but that brief glimpse of mink was one to remember.”
A subscription to SC Wildlife Magazine is only $12, and it’s well worth the money.
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