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Curious Mink Caught on Video Being Adorable at Lake St. Clair Metropark

Curious Mink Caught on Video Being Adorable at Lake St. Clair Metropark

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 30, 2020)

Harrison Township, MI – Normally when animals spot humans walking through their habitat, they run the other way.  But on Monday it was quite a different experience.

I love walking on the nature trails of SE Michigan, and one of my favorites is the trail at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township.  The park has a lovely wetland area that is home to many birds, frogs, snakes, toads, deer and other mammals.  Among them, the quick and adorable mink.

Normally I’ve only caught a glimpse of the long, shiny creature darting back to the water when I’ve approached.  But Monday I saw one on a boardwalk near the park’s observation area overlooking the wetlands.  I got closer in hopes of getting a good picture, and like a rockstar drawn to the lights of the paparazzi, the mink came towards me.

It would run a bit, then stop and look, then run a little bit closer.  Eventually it got so close that I backed away and made a noise – just in case it’s plan was to bite.  More likely though, the creature may be used to someone feeding it – which is a big no-no because it harms the animal’s instincts.  No mink should be out there running up to reporters like that.  Even if reporters mean them no harm.

I wanted to learn a little more about minks, because until this year I had no idea they lived in our area.  I contacted Jonathan Schechter, who is the author of the Wilder Side of Oakland County blog.  “It would be highly unusual to have a mink run up to someone—unless perhaps someone has been tossing food scraps to it.  They are very wary and cautious of people normally, and are voracious predators,” Schechter said.

He said that minks are common in marshland habitats.  “They are however not often seen unless a person is in the right place at the right time.” Schechter added.  He’s spotted them personally at Indian Springs Metropark, Addison Oaks County Park, the Bald Mountain State Recreation Area  and the Timberland Swamp Nature Sanctuary, as well as in the marsh areas near his home in Northern Oakland County.

“When I hike in the winter near a marsh I almost always see their very distinctive track pattern of leaping and bounding,” he said.  “The only time I was able to get clear photos was also an accidental encounter, adjacent to a pier in Ludington where a mink appeared to be after fish scraps from sloppy fishermen that were cleaning their catch on the pier.”

According to “Muskrats, chipmunks, mice, rabbits, fish, snakes, frogs and water fowl are all part of the mink’s diet.” They bite down on their prey’s necks to kill them.

“Minks are found near bodies of water, such as streams, lakes or ponds that have nearby tree cover. They make their homes by digging dens or by living in hollow logs.”

At Lake St. Clair Metropark, I’ve spotted one on the main nature path adjacent to the inlet, in a rotted trunk on the shore of Lake St. Clair near an area rich with goldenrod, and Monday’s sighting on the boardwalk near the observation area.

Lake St. Clair Metropark is located at 31300 Metro Pkwy, Harrison Charter Township, MI 48045.  Learn more on their website.

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