Below are some of the most common questions we get asked, if your question is not covered please contact us.

American mink are an invasive non-native species which means they have been brought in from another country and have a detrimental impact on our native wildlife. They predate on ground nesting birds, fish and small mammals. Their impact has probably been greatest on the water vole, where the population has declined faster than for any other mammal in the UK. American mink adapt their feeding behaviour according to prey availability and once they have reduced one food source they simply move onto another.

Please see Impacts for further information.

Certainly, anyone can get involved simply reporting sightings or field sign of American mink is a great help. Information about their presence is mapped and our co-ordinators can let other volunteers know of any mink around in their area. If you have access to a suitable water body you could put in a raft and; check the tracking plate for footprints and; check traps daily once mink have been detected. Not everyone is willing or able to trap and dispatch mink, if that part is difficult we can usually find someone to help with this aspect. If you can do trap/dispatch that is great, even better if you can help others dispatch mink when needed.

The traps we provide are live capture cage traps and come with an otter guard; this reduces the entrance of the trap to around three inches effectively excluding adult and young otters. Alternatively two pieces of doweling can be placed into 12mm drilled holes at the end of the tunnel to restrict the size of the entrance. Some smaller non-target animals, such as water voles, can fit through the otter guards these are released unharmed when the cage traps are checked. It is illegal to release mink after capture.

Although not always possible to achieve, an ideal raft density would be one raft per km of river; research shows that this allows each mink access to at least one raft, but usually two or three. For open water, such as the broads or fishing lakes you can follow the same spacing along the water’s edge. For land with many ditches or channels, i.e. marshland, it is suggested to have one raft per square km as a starting point, more maybe necessary depending on the density of the ditches. When mink are scarce, rafts can be deployed at a lower density to look out for their return.

There is no set time for this. However, our experience is that most mink are caught within a week, if at all. If it isn’t caught in that time frame there can be many different reasons, it might have been just passing through or been, caught elsewhere, or it maybe on the edge of its territory and not visiting frequently. GWCT research suggests that you return the raft to monitoring mode after about 10-15 days without a capture but this is not our recent experience, these days with lower density it’s advisable to leave a trap out for longer. If you get footprints straight away after returning to monitoring mode replace the trap. We suggest keeping the trap set for an extra few days after each capture. The reason for this is the scent of the mink you have just caught is now all over the trap, this is probably th