Mink vs Ferret Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Mink vs Ferret

The mink belongs to the genus Mustela. There are two extant species as, European mink and American mink. The European minks are the creatures with medium-sized bodies, with sharp teeth, a short tail, and short legs. The American minks tend to possess the dark brown-colored glossy fur that turns black when wet.

The natural habitat of these solitary animals includes forest areas closer to water. These carnivorous mammals eat fish, clams, insects, crabs, small mammals, larger prey, and other animals. The mink also eat meat. The mink temperament is low; they do not love to be handled. The wild minks are semi-aquatic animals, not domesticated animals. 

Therefore, authorization is required to have this wild animal or a pet mink. The pet mink diet should include cat food or raw protein. These creatures must be kept away from the household pets such as rabbits, cats, and even small dogs. Mink causes many diseases such as influenza, mink viral enteritis, urinary tract infections, hemorrhagic pneumonia, adrenal cancers, etc. The female minks are small-sized than males. Furthermore, mink species are also used for fur farming.

 In contrast to it, the ferrets belong to the family Mustelidae. The ferret is considered a domesticated form of the European polecat. The wild ferrets can be seen across grassy plains, Europe, and Asia. The wild ferret also lives in tunnels dug by other animal species, such as prairie dogs. Ferrets possess short, soft coats, long tails, and sharp, pointed teeth.

Mink vs Ferret

The soft coat remains healthy due to natural oils on their skin. The ferret coat colors are chocolate, black sable, dark-eyed white, and ebony. On the other hand, the black-footed ferret has yellow or brown-colored fur. The ferret, being rare semi-aquatic lives in farmlands, deserts, etc. The common ferrets are 20 inches long, including 13 centimeters long tail. 

The domesticated ferrets are much heavier than their counterparts. March and September is the mating season of the ferret. Ferret is not a solitary animal but are very intelligent creatures. These curious creatures are considered the third most popular pet around the world. The ferrets are great family pets. The behavior of pet ferrets is friendly, but pet owners must take proper care of these pet-friendly animals. It is vital to handle the ferret from a young age.

They require a large cage to live in and raw meats to eat. The ferret’s diet must not include sugar, vegetables, or fruits. You can also take veterinary precautions about the diet of family pet ferret because there are many organizations to provide veterinary advice. Although there are many similarities between minks and ferrets, differences also exist. For instance, these small animals come from the same family. Both animals possess pointed teeth and small rounded ears. The difference is that ferret makes a good family pet while minks cannot. The minks are solitary animals, unlike ferrets. This blog post provides other facts about mink vs ferret.



  • The mink possesses a long sleek body, with a long, thick tail, small eyes and ears, a long neck, and short, stubby legs. Despite all these features, the mink’s tail is almost one-third of its body length. On the other hand, the American mink has brown or black fur with white-colored fur on its throat and some white fur on its chin.
  • The ferrets possess pale-colored bodies with black feet and white-colored throats, muzzles, and foreheads. In addition to it, the body shape of the ferret is a typical mustelid that is slender and longer. There are various colorations on their pelage. For example, white, black, brown, or mixed colors. 
  • The mink is present throughout the world, including many countries such as the United States, North America, and Canada, except for the Southwestern deserts. Water is the most vital factor for the mink habitat. These species are native to coastlines, lakes, marshes, rivers, streams, etc. They also shelter at the base of trees. 
  • The ferrets originally lived among prairie dog populations such as American West to Northern Mexico and Southern Canada. In comparison to it, the ferret species are also native to various other habitats such as grassy plains, making their homes in tunnels dug by other creatures, for instance, the prairie dog. 
  • The male minks possess a body length of about 34 to 45 centimeters or 13 to 18 inches, while females are approximately 31 to 38.5 centimeters or 12 to 15 inches. The tail measures 6 to 8 inches in females and 6 to 10 inches in males. The wild male mink is about 1 kilogram. In addition to it, the females weigh about 600 grams, and males have an average weight of 3.2 kilograms. 
  • The male and female ferrets differ in size, with females shorter and lighter. The females can grow to about 16 inches in length, while males have an average body length of about 24 inches. In addition to it, the females weigh no more than 3 pounds or 1.35 kilograms. In comparison, the male ferrets are with an average weight of approximately between 3 and 5 pounds or 1.35 and 2.26 kilograms. 
  • The mink requires a proper diet to survive, like other species. For example, they eat a wide range of fish, birds, mammals, and other invertebrates such as crayfish and crabs. 
  • The ferrets also require a proper diet to survive, like their relatives minks. For instance, ferret’s food primarily consists of raisins, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, sweets, and meat. However, chocolates are fatal. 
  • The mink communicate with each other using various sounds, odors, and visual signals. These animal species rely on odors to find mates and communicate territorial boundaries. Furthermore, they also have excellent senses of hearing, smell, and vision. 
  • Although ferrets do not possess lingual capabilities like humans, it does not mean they cannot communicate with each other. There are many movements and sounds used by the ferret to convey what these species want. People usually don’t understand them. 
  • Although mink is not as a skillful swimmer as an otter, it is a good swimmer with partially-webbed feet. In addition to it, the mink locate its food from outside the water before diving, catching prey by resurfacing and feeling relatively quickly. 
  • The ferrets are considered excellent swimmers both in the wild and their domestic lives. Although these species can swim, they must not swim for long distances. It is because the ferret bodies are not meant for swimming. 
  • The minks are nocturnal, meaning they are more active at night than during the day. These animal species are identified because of their sociability, exploration, and boldness. In addition to it, the mink being a solitary animal mark its territory with several secretions from its anal scent gland. 
  • The ferrets are much more docile than various polecats, maintaining their intuitive and natural behaviors. The ferret is known for its curious, playful, lively, and intelligent behavior. Furthermore, these animal species do not fear humans. They are friendly if appropriately handled. 
  • The mink live for a specific time, after which it dies. For instance, the mink possesses an average lifespan of about three to four years in the wild, but the domesticated form of mink can live for more than ten years in captivity. 
  • The ferrets also live for a specific time, like all other animals on the earth’s surface. For example, they can live for 1 to 3 years in the wild. They may also live for about 4 to 6 years or more in captivity. 
  • The mink also has many natural enemies. Their predators include bobcats, coyotes, wolves, great horned owls, and other carnivores, and humans are the main threat. 
  • The ferrets are also preyed on by various animals. For instance, their primary predators are bobcats, foxes, coyotes, badges, eagles, hawks, owls, etc. 
  • The mink species are considered animals of least concern. The European mink is one of the most threatened animal species in Europe and is a critically endangered species. About 30,000 of these mink species are left in the world. 
  • The ferrets are not extinct. If we talk about conservancy, almost 200 to 300 ferrets live in the wild nowadays. According to Nature Conservancy, about 280 black-footed ferrets are found in captive breeding facilities. 


Sometimes people get confused and raise questions about mink vs ferret to clear their minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those questions are as mentioned below;

Are minks a type of ferret?

No, ferrets and minks are entirely different species. However, the European mink is much similar to polecats than the North American mink. On the other hand, the ferret is considered the domesticated polecat. 


Various animals and plants are present throughout the world, all possessing unique identification characters discriminating against them. The same is the case with the minks and ferrets. Although both species have many similarities and differences, people still confuse them. There is no need to worry as this blog post provides exciting facts and information about these animals to clear people’s minds. It will help greatly if you read this article with great care and pay full attention. 

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