The American mink is a fearless, predatory mammal in the same family as stoats and otters. They are semi-aquatic, with partially webbed feet, and are normally found close to rivers, drainage ditches and lakes or in coastal habitats. Mink are typically about 50 – 60cm long and weigh 0.7 – 2 kg, with males up to twice the weight of females. Mink were first introduced into Britain from North America for fur farming in the 1920s. The industry expanded as the fashion for luxurious fur coats grew, and by the 1950s mink farms were active over most of Britain and on some larger offshore islands. But not all the mink stayed in farms. Many escaped, and hundreds more were released into the wild by well-meaning but misguided ‘animal liberationists’. By the time mink farms were banned in Britain, feral mink had become firmly established in waterways across most of England, Wales and Scotland. Most feral mink now resemble the wild animals found in America, with a dark chocolate brown coat and white throat patch, but a small minority are lighter in colour due to selective breeding by the mink farms from which they originated. Our most similar native animal is the Polecat, which is a similar size and shape to mink, but has a browner fur and a distinctive ‘bandit’ face mask and white ear tips.