An Otter? An Ermine? A Weasel? Nope, It’s a Mink I Think at an Etobicoke Park on Lake Ontario

While on that same TFN nature walk we stopped on the path above the jumble of limestone chunks helping reduce erosion around the inner marina bay to look at some grebes, coots and goldeneye. Suddenly a long, slender, sleek four-footed forager popped up to inspect us while on its prowls. It was too small to be an otter, too brown to be a winter ermine, and too big to be a weasel: It was a mink.

Photo of Mink Hunting Lake Ontario March on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Feisty Weasel-Lookalike Pops Up Unabashed to Forage Despite Paparazzi with Cameras and Binoculars

There were about 20 people staring at this gorgeous creature as it darted into crevices and rolled back up and out. It moved very quickly in ripples like water over the rocks. It actually came towards the group first but shied off about 5m away.

Photo of Mink Colonel Sam Smith Park Toronto ON March on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Someone Spotted Wearing Luxurious Mink Coat at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto ON

Luckily for us, who got to watch it, and for the mink, it’s no longer common to trap wild mink for their fur. Mink coats are noticeably less popular than they were in the last century. And farm-raised mink fur is now the most common the source of coats for people. (Nova Scotia, for instance, produced 700,000 mink pelts in 2003, according to the government of Nova Scotia agriculture website.) That could partly explain the lack of fear shown by this well-clad hunter.

You could see, even from a distance, that the fur was thick and it looked sleek and soft. The animal actually looked larger in diameter than what I remember mink looking like. I think that’s because this is my first “winter” mink. This one still had its extra warm coat to make life among the icy limestock blocks bearable.

Photo of Mink Lake Ontario Toronto March on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Lots of Opportunities to Eat

This mink was probably a healthy weight and size for a reason: There’s lots of food for an aggressive, curious hunter at Colonel Sam Smith Park. Between Canada Goose and Mallard duck eggs and chicks, frogs, fish, small mammals and the occasional sandwich dropped by picnickers, there’s lots available to feed a hungry mustelid.

This Mink Was Solo

According to the PEI Dept of Agriculture and Forestry website, mink have kits in April or May. So it was too early to expect to see a Mama mink teaching her youngsters the finer arts of the hunt. We did see, however, another mink on rocks on the far shore, so there’s a good chance that someone will have 4-6 mini mink in the coming months!

Photo of Mink Etobicoke Ontario March on NaturalCrooksDotCom

I’ll have to try to go back later this year and see if we can spot them.

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Have you seen any mink that weren’t around a human’s shoulders? What were they doing? Please share your experiences with a comment.

16 thoughts on “An Otter? An Ermine? A Weasel? Nope, It’s a Mink I Think at an Etobicoke Park on Lake Ontario

  1. yes looking at your photo of a mink,i am now sure that is what i saw in lee valley park essex england.i have two photos of it.

  2. My daughters and I saw such a creature today on Colonel Samuel Smith Park this afternoon! Again, it was quite close to a group of people and didn’t seem too shy. It darted into the crevasses between the large rocks that make up the water break it seemed to be hunting on. We thought it might be a weasel, but it looked exactly like your photos!

  3. I just saw another one at Guild Inn. This one was black. The other one was brown. What are the chances?! It’s good they are doing so well. :)

    • I suspect this is the time of year (other than winter) when they are the most visible as they are likely making the grown up kits move out on their own. The youngsters will need to find places to live which aren’t already “taken” by another adult. And they aren’t as good hunters so they are out and about longer.

      I’m glad you’re getting to see them, though: not everyone’s so lucky!

  4. I saw a mink today at the Toronto police marina on the harbourfront. It was running along the dockwall and then climbed down into the water and swam away. Your website helped me ID it – thanks!

    • Cool! I’m glad you got to see one of the Toronto mink. They are so fast they aren’t noticed all that often. Thanks for sharing your sighting!

    • They are fairly common along the Lake but not everyone notices them as they move so quickly in and out among the rocks and shrubs. Thanks for sharing your sighting!

  5. Saw one this weekend during a waterfront walk on New Years morning, scootching around the shore rocks further along Lakeshore in Mimico (near Parklawn and Lakeshore). Stared at us like we were the day’s entertainment. Was trying to id what weasel it was, and your website helped determine the wee bugger’s lineage. Not the first I’ve seen, and hopefully not the last!

  6. I was walking along the Credit River near Lake Ontario today (January 11, 2017) and saw a black mink race across the ground dodging between stones then leap into the river. He dove then came back up and swam across the surface. He dove again and I lost track of him. I was pretty certain it was a mink but after checking the web sites I am now certain. I also saw one last summer, a brown one this time, run along a walking path then leaping into Lake Ontario. Both were in Port Credit. A thrilling site

    • Yes, our mink do come in black and brown shades. They really move fast zipping along the shore: I hope yours found something to eat. Thanks for sharing your sighting!

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