European Mink

The European Mink, Mustela lutreola, is a European member of the Mustelidae family found in some regions of Spain, France, Romania, Ukraine, Estonia and the greater part of Russia, though not found east of the Ural Mountains. Formerly it extended across all Europe, reaching Finland in the north, but it is now extinct in the major part of its ancient range. It is similar in appearance to the American Mink.

Mink first entered Europe from America at the end of the Pleistocene Era. The two species are believed to have diverged only in the last ten thousand years, and therefore remain remarkably similar in a number of ways.

European Mink have slender, flexible bodies, bushy tails, and webbed paws. They have a sleek summer coat, and a darker, denser, winter coat, better suited to low temperatures. Their eyesight is generally poor, so that they rely heavily on their superior sense of smell while hunting.

It is sometimes possible to distinguish the European and American species based on the fact that the American Mink usually lacks a large white patch on its upper lip, while the European Mink always possesses one. Any mink without such a patch can be identified with certainty as an American Mink, but an individual with such a patch, if encountered in continental Europe, cannot be certainly identified without looking at the skeleton. The European Mink always and the American Mink usually has a white spot on the lower lip, which continues in broken or unbroken fashion to form ventral markings. Since each is a different shape, it is possible to recognize individuals based on these ventral patterns.

Fur also grows white over a scar and older mink tend to have more such patches, although absolute age is difficult to quantify without studying the animal from birth. In fur farms, mink are generally slaughtered after eight months, but can live several years in the wild (although mortality is high, especially among dispersing juveniles).

Male European Mink are from 28-43 cm in body length, and weight about 900 grams, while the females are only slightly smaller at 30-40 cm long and 600 grams in weight. These figures are somewhat smaller than those for the American Mink.

European Mink
on the central part – the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Moldova; on the upper part - figure „2003”; on the bottom part -the inscription „10 LEI”; following the coin circumference– the inscription "REPUBLICA MOLDOVA" is engraved in block letters.
on the central part-on a vegetal background of a lakeside - an european mink carrying a fish in its paw; following the coin circumference- the inscriptions "CARTEA ROŞIE”, “NURCA EUROPEANĂ”, “MUSTELA LUTREOLA" are engraved in block letters.
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KM# 19
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