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Getting a Mink

ferrets, badgers, otters, weasels, martens, wolverines etc

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FrothingMagpies
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Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:45 am

So I've been wanting a mink for a while now, & it's lead me down the rabbit hole. Idk if it intyerests anyone, but here is the bizarre adventure.

First I contacted Mitchel Kalmanson (the importer zebrafox used & is the transporter for the Domestic fox) about getting a domestic mink & it basically costs about the same as a fox from there, which is way too much for me right now.

However I still really wanted a pet mink so I had to look for alternatives.

I found someone in Yorkshire, England who had found a baby male & raised it & it was very tame but she couldn't keep him anymore. It was very short of notice for me & I was getting together the money to fund this road trip over when she messaged me back saying he had escaped. So that was a dead end.

Then my dad announced that we were going to France on holidays this summer & I pounced on the opportunity to contact anyone from the French mink keeping forum, parlons vision, who might be living where we were visiting & would be interested in meeting up.

Someone replied (I can't use names I'm afraid, mink have to have a license in France & they are no longer available to people who want to keep them privately so the are just kept illegally. Some people are more comfortable about admitting they have mink on the forum, some aren't, so to be safe I won't name any of them) & said she'd love to meet me in Paris.

So within an hour of arriving at our hotel my parents were wishing me luck & I was getting on the metro. After a lot of confusion, getting a bit lost with bad directions & being very late, we finally met up. We were both really nervous & shy & at first it was a little awkward. I tend to forget my French when I'm nervous (I actually couldn't make any sound for 5 minutes in my French oral exam, I was like a gaping fish!) & she said her English wasn't great, but after a while we relaxed & were able to talk in conversations that were half English half French (okay I admit, mostly English ^^")

She had a female albino mink called Kobalann which means bear in some Nordic language but I forget which one that is xD She also brought her Pomeranian with her which I was able to cuddle for a while , as we had just put down my first dog, daisy, a week before coming over it was great to be able to cuddle a pom again ^.^ We found we both shared a love of Northern breeds, & the more we talked the more we realized we had in common, like we both prefer feeding raw diets to our animals.

I bought two ferrets this summer, & I was surprised at how mink are completely 100% different.
Physically, they have *very* strong, muscular bodies. It's like the difference between an extreme body builder & well, me xD Especially in their shoulders you just feel all this power o.o
Their faces are also much rounder & chubbier. Actually a lot cuter than ferrets!
Their tails are also very thick & strong & while a ferrets tail tapers off a mink's just stop kind of abruptly.
Their coats are of an even length without an obvious difference between guard hairs & undercoat.
They also don't smell! Which is a vast improvement on ferrets xP
Their paws aren't flat & splayed, they have arched toes.

Koba was on a leash with a leather harness she couldn't slip out of. My ferrets on a leash just amble where ever they want & so far refuse to walk to heel like a dog. But Kobba was happily bounding along beside us, even pulling on the leash sometimes & looking over her shoulder at us impatiently. Mon Amie explained "She's hungry & it's passed her dinner time so she's cross with me now" which i thought was cute. After a while to my absolute amazement she tied one end of the leash to the dog's neck so she wasn't holding either animals leash, they were tied to each other & did Kobalann make a bid for escape? No. She stopped to sniff a few times but when Mon Amie called her she ran after us again. I still can't get over how well trained she was. Most people I know can't even trust their own dogs like that, a wild animal was almost unimaginable to me.

Mon Amie explained her friend bought Kobalann from a fur farm on the day of their slaughter, just in time when she was a year old. She then realized how wild Kobalann was & gave her to Mon Amie who tamed her to the point where she actively chooses to stay with her as opposed to escaping for a free life. If that doesn't make her freaking amazing Idk what would xD

We brought her to a lake to let her swim & this is when her similarity to an otter became really apparent. Mon Amie explained "I think of them more as little otters than big ferrets. It fits their behavior & bodies better". Then we headed back to her apartment & when we got to the building Kobalann ran up to the elevator & started pawing at the door & chirping & looking from Mon Amie to the door. When we got into her apartment Kobalann headed off go her food bowl & while Mon Amie fed her she explained she feeds her chicks, meat, eggs, rabbit, beef, fish, chicken wings & legs, basically all forms of meat. Her dad made us something to eat & We all chatted about the Olympics as we watched it & ate & I began to get those warm fuzzy feelings about how language isn't really a barrier between people when they share a passion & somethings are just a universal interest.... or maybe that was just jet lag.

Then she offered me some cherry coke I got really excited about it because they stopped selling that in Ireland years ago & I didn't know it was in France & she couldn't stop laughing. When I found out they still have BN Bns too I was equally embarrassingly happy. Then we started talking about ice lollies ( I think you call them Popsicles in America?) & she thought that was the stupidest English name for anything she had ever heard & I explained it's because they're like lollipops made of ice because you lick them & she reluctantly agreed there was some logic there.

We walked over to the metro & being on the metro in Paris at night with a mink acting like I do this everyday is definitely one of the more surreal experiences of my life. We talked about mink as we traveled & she explained she had tried to breed Kobalann that spring but she had miscarried & apparently mink have a very hard time making it to delivery, it doesn't matter how you care for them, generations of poor breeding on the farms makes it very hard for them to get pregnant & carry their litters for the full term.

A couple of people came over to take pictures of Kobalann & Mon Amie explained that everyone assumes Koba is a ferret & that is how she can successfully take her out in public. Her vet knows she is a mink & doesn't have a problem with it, but if she ever has to get a different vet she will just tell them Koba is a ferret fort safety's sake. Although she said mink fed properly are almost never sick. all this time Koba just rests peacefully in her lap, where as at this point my ferrets would be scrambling all over me & trying to dive onto other passengers for tickles xD

I tell her how impressed I am with Kobalann's behavior, especially as she was recused so late in her life & had never been handled before. Mon Amie explained that mink are exceptionally intelligent animals & to train one the key is to be dominant with them from day one. If they think they can bully you they will. This doesn't mean being aggressive with it but not being afraid or timid & showing it's bites do not hurt you, even if they do, as they are mostly just testing you. Koba did bite me a few times & this made a lot of sense to me, I was very new to mustelids & I had just rescued a female ferret recently who was very fear aggressive & had a tenancy to bite with all her strength & not let go until you pinched her nose to block off her airway. So I was nervous around an animal who was a lot stronger than my ferret & if my ferret's bite was as painful as it was then the mink was definitely to be respected! When I stroked Kobalann it was timidly not with enough authority, Mon Amie explained. If you want to stroke a mink then you have to do it calmly & firmly & act as though you are certain it will not bite you, apparently.

We got off the train & headed back up to ground level. We walked to a little green & waited for her friends to arrive. The first arrived preceded by a giant orange Akita Inu. She was also accompanied by two huge black male mink, a small brown one & a stone marten all in leather harnesses & leashes. They were all named after characters from animes or manga, all I can remember I'm afraid is Suigetsu & Yuka. She couldn't speak any English so Mon Amie acted as translator. The male mink were from a fur farm, Yuka the brown female was found as a baby in a ditch & the marten was rescued from a trapper.

Then their other friend arrived with one of my favourite color variants of mink, & I have no idea of what it's called but it's a variant of the black ones apparently, they're white as a base colour with grey splattered over their back growing stronger into a dark V shape on it's forehead. She was a little baby called Suki who was very friendly and sweet but they admit she will probably grow more distant with strangers as she ages.


The males were massive & like cuddly miniature otters, they were so sweet. To me all the mink were beautiful but the girls said all agreed that one of the makes was definitely ugly for a mink & they jokingly called him Ugly Betty xD The more handsome was was to be Kobalann's mate next spring.

Which brought us to my problem of how to get a mink of my very own. They suggested I try calling every mink farm in Ireland first to make absolutely sure I couldn't get one there without a license secretly first. But It's very hard to contact the farms in Ireland >.< Then they suggested if I was up to it I could come over in the spring & have one of Suigetsu & kobalann's babies! If Koba fails with another litter Suigetsu's owner is traveling to Germany to pick up another mink for herself from a farm there if I want I can pay her to get me one too!

So my currant plan is to well, plan. I could always attempt to get a license & buy one from a farm in Ireland, but they are EXTREMELY reluctant to pas anyone licenses here & if I fail I'll have drawn attention to myself for nothing which would make hiding a mink here much harder >.<
So instead I''m saving up for a trip to Paris in the spring! I can't drive so I will either fly over & get the ferry back or use the ferry both ways. Planes will obviously not allow an animal on board without proper documents etc which I can't get for a mink. But on a ferry you don't need that, we bring our pets back & forth from the UK when we go & there isn't any problems. I am aware that you can get a pet passport for a ferret & I have yet to look into that properly, but another possibility is getting one for the mink if that is required for the ferry. But like I say I have yet to work out the finer details.

Ofc any suggestions are welcome I'm just sort of flailing my way through this xD

I'll add pictures when I find the USB cord for my camera but right now it remains elusive!
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Talys
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby Talys » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:03 pm

I cannot even describe how much I enjoyed reading this. i think the mink-vibe is contagious though! hope it works out for you; I cannot wait for pictures!
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the_unstable
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby the_unstable » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:44 pm

I'm surprised more people haven't responded to this. What a wonderful thread, I'm so excited for you! We need pictures :P Ahhhh I can't wait for you to get one!
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:29 pm

Hey! I think I'm technology impaired, my laptop was out of action for ages there & my camera is lacing in some program atm so I'll have to wait a few days to download it from my digital photography teacher in college & then, finally, I will spam you with pictures galore!

In the meantime here's a video from Parlons Vison of the actual mink I met that the owner posted: http://parlonsvison.xooit.fr/t1755-SuiG ... start=1005

I've begun designing my mink's pen in the shed & I'm quite happy with my having progress towards paying for either the license or the travel involved in getting one ^.^

I'm really looking forward to getting one, but nervous too, they're not really like ferrets at all & I know in comparison to people that have bears & wolves on here this will sound weak, but I am a little scared of how powerful & wild they are ^^" They can be a little unpredictable
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:35 pm

Have you seen this https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pet-Mink/56943506597

It might be helpful.

I can't say how your country works but here I'd not get one without a license. Just because others have done so does not make it safe. For example in California many have illegal ferrets so everyone thinks it's safe but many ferrets do get confiscated and killed every year. It just doesn't make the news so most people don't know. So if you can I'd advise getting the license.
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:47 pm

I already found the pet mink page, but thank you very much for linking it to me! Theres also a fascinating one, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Minken ... 11?fref=ts where they have trained their mink to hunt for them, by fishing & going down rat holes. I had no idea they could be worked with like that!


Atm I'm saving up & seeing what work out best, getting the license or travelling to Paris, but here mink aren't readily recognised & it took me weeks of phone calls & emails to find out who exactly I contact to get a license from, only three people in the department knew what a mink was & the others didn't think you needed a license for them. So things are very, very lax here! Even my ferrets are mistaken for stoats & "baby wolverines" so a mink wouldn't be very conspicuous
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby caninesrock » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:55 pm

Thank you for sharing your story and the video on the mink. They sound like very smart animals. I can't wait to see lots of pictures and hear lots of stories when you get your mink. ^^
Exotic Wishlist: high content wolfdog or wolf,low to mid content wolfdog, Coyote, Coydog, Black-backed Jackal, New Guinea Singing Dog, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Mink, Raccoon, Coati,and Kinkajou.

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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:34 am

Update on getting a mink *sigh*

I called more fur farms this morning & it's not looking good.

Tazetta won't pick up the phone even though I've been calling them within their working hours, so I had to resort to asking them on their facebook page, which I don't like because it's so informal & just sounds like "Oh what a cute little fuzzy wuzzy thing I want one" & I really doubt they'll even respond.

Willow Herb became very hostile/defensive even though I was very polite & then I got really nervous trying to explain myself (I get really, really scared talking on the phone. I have no idea of why this is, but it can take me days to work up the courage to call someone >.< it's like my one big fear). The man who answered just seemed like he wanted to end the conversation as quickly as possible. He did at least say he wouldn't sell a mink if I didn't have a license & that I could get one from the Dept of Agriculture, but wouldn't say who to actually contact there except that it's in Dublin, which really doesn't mean anything specific. He also seemed to think there was an annual fee (but he didn't actually know, which seems odd considering that hew owns a mink farm & surely pays that fee?), which is not good.

The fee to get the license is €250/ $322. I'm a student who is despite my best efforts, still unemployed & with plenty of other animals to feed etc. There's no way I can dish that out annually. A once off to be allowed to keep mink? Sure, a bit of saving, I can do it, I really do want one. But I can't predict what kind of financial situation I'll be in over the next few years & in any case, I'm just not really willing to pay that much annually, I might as well put that towards saving for a Russian domestic fox xD

There are a further two mink farms owned by the one person whose contact details I can't find anywhere so I'm giving up on that. I could write a letter but I think that's too ignorable. He also lives at the other end of Ireland & between buses & trains it would be both expensive & very stressful a trip for such a young mink.

I called Vasa LTD earlier on in the year & they actually seemed quite friendly & willing but once again, I would need the license. They weren't too far from me so if I do end up getting a license, I'd say it'll be there I go.

On the upside, the guy on the pet mink group on facebook is both very knowledgeable;le & helpful, he's been giving me a lot of tips & anyone who's thinking of getting a mink should have a look through the pet mink group & minkenry, which is his group for hunting with mink. Regardless on how you feel about hunting it's actually a very good insight on what you're getting into, they have a very strong prey drive & I wouldn't trust them alone with children or pets after that O_o

Oh! & I'm *finally* getting a charger for the Nikon D80 this week so I can share the French mink pictures!
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:57 pm

That is kind of steep but at the same time not since meant mostly for farms then it'd just be a small expense to them. At least they would sell to you if you do get it though.
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby caninesrock » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:02 pm

Sorry you aren't able to get a mink. :/ Are you sure that's the price of the license required for private ownership and not just the price of the license for farming mink?
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby sarajeku » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:46 am

If there's a difference at all, logic dictates that the license for the farming stock would be the less expensive one. The reason being you're working to get these animals, they're "farmed" animals, and you aren't pampering them.
The reasoning the pet keeping license would be more expensive is the officials would believe you have enough money to buy this unique or extravagant pet, why wouldn't you have enough to pay this fee?

Edit: if it's already been mentioned that there is a difference and what it is, feel free to correct me. I just kind of skimmed the last few posts
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby caninesrock » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:17 pm

sarajeku wrote:If there's a difference at all, logic dictates that the license for the farming stock would be the less expensive one. The reason being you're working to get these animals, they're "farmed" animals, and you aren't pampering them.
The reasoning the pet keeping license would be more expensive is the officials would believe you have enough money to buy this unique or extravagant pet, why wouldn't you have enough to pay this fee?

Edit: if it's already been mentioned that there is a difference and what it is, feel free to correct me. I just kind of skimmed the last few posts


I was thinking the farming one would be more expense because it's a business license and a business should theoretically be able to pay alot more money than an indivdiual could as they're actually making money off of the animals while the individual is not.
Exotic Wishlist: high content wolfdog or wolf,low to mid content wolfdog, Coyote, Coydog, Black-backed Jackal, New Guinea Singing Dog, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Mink, Raccoon, Coati,and Kinkajou.

Domestic Wishlist: dogs, cats, ferrets, donkey, mule
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:23 pm

There's only one license for keeping mink here. It's basically focused around keeping them in a manner in which they can't escape. They're believed to do a lot of damage to the ecology here so that's why it's in place at all I believe, & while I don't personally believe they do that's a whole other issue I'll ignore for now.In fairness I'm the only person in my country that would want one as a pet, I doubt they'd form a new kind of license just for me :icon-wink:

I'm really not that bothered if it does turn out to be a one time expense but if I would have to pay that annually I'll have to rethink this as it really adds up over time.
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caninesrock
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby caninesrock » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:17 pm

FrothingMagpies wrote:There's only one license for keeping mink here. It's basically focused around keeping them in a manner in which they can't escape. They're believed to do a lot of damage to the ecology here so that's why it's in place at all I believe, & while I don't personally believe they do that's a whole other issue I'll ignore for now.In fairness I'm the only person in my country that would want one as a pet, I doubt they'd form a new kind of license just for me :icon-wink:

I'm really not that bothered if it does turn out to be a one time expense but if I would have to pay that annually I'll have to rethink this as it really adds up over time.

Oh. So are you sure that you're allowed to have one as a pet under the license and that isn't not a license only granted to farms for farming mink?
Exotic Wishlist: high content wolfdog or wolf,low to mid content wolfdog, Coyote, Coydog, Black-backed Jackal, New Guinea Singing Dog, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Mink, Raccoon, Coati,and Kinkajou.

Domestic Wishlist: dogs, cats, ferrets, donkey, mule
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:44 pm

Well I still haven't found who I'm meant to contact about the license, for some reason all the farms I have spoken to are really cagey about it. But once I know who to contact I shall have to see what they will say.
It would be the same license as the fur farms have so I'm just saving away money at the moment & hunting around for who to actually send the form to.
The wierd part is that when I contacted who the form stated I should send it to they didn't even know what a mink was & were certain that I was talking to the wrong people O_o

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