A ‘fight to the death’ battle between a mink and a muskrat is incredibly intense. Slow motion allows us to see how ruthless it is.
Mink are, in my opinion, one of the more intriguing mammals in North America. They are inquisitive, courageous, clever and adaptable. They also wear a heckuva gorgeous fur coat, much coveted by humans.
They are highly efficient killers. They have been fairly described as ‘bloodthirsty’, being one of the animal kingdom’s predators that frequently kills seemingly for the pure sake of killing. I’ve heard trappers describe incredible carnage of domestic fowl at the fangs and claws of mink.
Only a couple weeks ago a trapper in a Facebook group posted a photo of a large mink he caught a day after the slinky predator “killed 29 chickens and 9 ducks in one night”. The devastation he experienced was ‘one-upped’ by a fellow trapper who recounted a female mink that “killed 65 chicken in one night”.
The myth that animals do not kill more than they can eat is turned on its ear by this fairly common predatory behavior from mink. Although they are by no means the only predators who engage in what is known as “surplus killing”, they may be the most prolific when given the opportunity (but that is a topic for another day).
In any event, this incredible video of a tamed albino mink named Ma’ska fighting a muskrat is surely one of the more dynamic and ruthless nature scenes between two small animals that you’re likely to see again anytime soon.
The narrator, Joseph Carter, gives an excellent ‘blow by blow’ analysis of the fight when he slows the video down. Let’s just review his own comments, as they offer a good insight into the tactics a mink employs when subduing a dangerous prey animal such as a muskrat:
“First, the mink grabs the muskrat wherever it can. Usually its butt, back leg or sometimes even its tail. Just to slow it down.”
“Next, the mink wrestles for control, trying to grasp the muskrat by the head, while doing its best to avoid the muskrat’s large beaver-like teeth.”
“Did you see that!? The muskrat tried to bite the mink on the neck. But the mink beat it to the punch, grabbed it by the nose, and before the muskrat could even bite down pulled its teeth away from its own throat. Now those are some fast reflexes.”
“Now that the mink has the muskrat by the head, we see that the muskrat starts spinning and twisting, doing its best to wriggle free from the mink’s grasp. Rather than lose its good hold, the mink also spins and twists, thus preventing the muskrat from wriggling free.”
“As the wrestling match continues, we see that the muskrat begins to slow down. It is obviously fatigued from the struggle, and unlike the mink, is beginning to run out of energy.”
“The mink is finally now gaining complete control over the muskrat. A more experienced mink would have gained control much earlier on. But this mink is new to the muskrat hunting game, and is still trying to figure things out.”
“Though less refined and efficient than a more seasoned mink, this mink was able to use her instincts to finally subdue her prey.”
Incredible! This is an amazing video documentary of one of the more common yet rarely seen predator vs. prey interactions in nature.