Mink Vs Ferret – What Are The Differences?

ferret vs mink

I am sure you landed on this page because you want to know the differences between a Mink Vs Ferret? Don’t worry; you’re on the right page; this article aims to provide you with the differences between Minks and ferrets.

Looking at both animals from far, it is almost impossible to differentiate between them. Both animals look similar, but there are several visual differences between the two when you get close.

Mink and Ferret belong to the same family “Mustelidae,” which includes otters, weasels, and ferrets.


They are the domesticated form of the European Polecat. Ferrets are intelligent, affectionate small animals that love to explore and play. Ferrets typically have black, brown, white, or mixed fur. 

mink vs ferret


The common ferrets have an average length of 51 cm (20 inches), including the 13-cm tail. They weigh between 1 and 5.5 pounds.

Ferrets are popular animals that are commonly used in lots of veterinary research. When they are in captivity, they become tame, friendly, and remain inquisitive.

They have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years. Also, there is a common endangered species of ferrets known as the Black-footed Ferret. 

The black-footer ferrets eat only prairie dogs and live in prairie-dog burrows.


Mink are semiaquatic, dark-colored, predatory animals of the genera Neovison and Mustela and Mustelidae family consisting of otters, ferrets, and weasels. 

There are two extant species: the American Mink (Neovison vision) and the European Mink (Mustela Lutreola); they are both valued for their luxurious hair (fur).

mink vs ferret

The American species of minks are raised in captivity and one of the fur industry pillars around the world.

Minks in the wild are discrete, small, and often Noctural, and they live close to water.

The American and the European mink measures in length around 30 to 50 cm (10-20 inches), 13 to 23 cm in the tail, and weighs about 2 kg (4.5 pounds or less).

Female Minks are smaller than males. Minks have long and thick necks, short legs, short rounded ears, and broadheads. 

Their coat color is deep rich brown and sometimes with white markings on the chest, throat, and underparts.

Mink in the wild are semiaquatic and usually obtain their food on shorelines or river banks. Minks eat fishes, Salamanders, frogs, crayfish, mice, muskrats, aquatic birds, rabbits, and voles.

The minks are agile and strong swimmers. They are solitary animals, except during mating season in spring. Females are known to raise their young ones alone, and both females and males may mate with different individuals.

Minks in captivity can live up to 10 years and in the wild around three years.

Mink vs Ferret – What are the Differences?

As earlier discussed, Ferret and Mink belong to the Mustelidae family. 

Mink vs Ferret’s main difference is that Mink is a mammal while Ferret is a subspecies of mammals.

Both animals are carnivorous, and people have domesticated these creatures for specific purposes.

Ferrets are mostly kept as a family pet. In contrast, Minks are kept in captivity or farmed due to their hair (fur). Minks contribute greatly to the hair industry.

An Overview On The Differences Between Ferret And Mink In Table.

Average Height12 – 20 inches8 – 18 inches
Average Weight4 – 5 pounds1 – 5.5 pounds
Lifespan9 – 11 years5 – 10 years
Exercise1+ hours a day2+ hours a day
Other Pet-FriendlyNoNo
Trainability/Behaviorunpredictable, aggressive, Nocturnal, and solitarysociable, playful Intelligent, curious, and playful
Food And Dietcarnivorouscarnivorous
Habitathollow logs or digging densGrassy Plains, tunnels
Speed6.5 km/h15 km/h
Colordeep rich brownVarious coat patterns and colors

Mink vs Ferret – Appearance

Both animals share relatively similar appearances because they are in the family.

Ferrets and minks have soft and short coats, quite long tails, and small rounded ears, and pointed teeth, sleek and slender bodies.

Farm-bred minks are heavier than minks in the wild.

Mink tails can grow in length between 6 to 10 inches, while ferrets tend to grow up to 5.1 inches.

ferrets vs minks

Ferret vs Mink – Food & Diet

Ferrets are carnivorous animals. They prefer feeding on bone and raw meats. Ferrets’ natural diet consists of insects, moles, rabbits, and other small animals.

If you live in an area where there are wild ferrets and rear chickens, you need to be careful. Ferrets are known to steal and kill people’s chickens.

If you have a pet ferret, the Good news is that there are many commercialized ferret foods available in the market. Regularly you need to feed your ferret food high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

On the other hand, Mink are also carnivores meaning they entirely eat meat. Chipmunks, rabbits, mice, Muskrats, snakes, fishes, waterfowl, and frogs are all part of the Mink’s diet. However, the European species of Mink is also known to consume some vegetation. Also, Mink are known to explore shorelines for prey.

Mink Vs Ferret – Coat Colors

Ferrets have a short and soft coat. Unlike, mink one popular physical trait is their lovely, soft, and glossy fur. Minks are farmed or kept in captivity because of their hair.

Ferret and Mink have similar coat colors. Mink color can mostly come in tawny brown, dark deep brown. While Ferret comes in various colors such as black, chocolate, Albino, black sable, champagne, cinnamon, and dark-eyed white.

Ferret vs Mink – Temperament

Naturally, ferrets have a better temperament than minks. Ferrets are playful, curious, sociable, highly active, and friendly animals that can form a strong bond with their owner when adopted at a very young age. They can be trained to do tricks, as they are quick learners.

Ferrets must be taught not to bite or nip, much as the same way you can teach your puppies and kittens to behave appropriately. 

Domestically bred ferrets will usually not be aggressive and vicious but must be vaccinated in order not to spread rabies or infection when they scratch or bite kids or other household pets. 

Bugging ferrets can cause them to mistrust you and wouldn’t want to spend time with you and lead to an aggressive attitude.

Minks are very territorial; they are not domesticated animals. Males are known to fight each other in their territory but appear to be less aggressive toward females. Minks are very aggressive and agile. When they are threatened or angry, they may hiss, growl, or discharge a strong scent from their anal glands.

Ferret and Mink – Behavior

Mink are hunters by nature, and even if they are kept as pets at home, they behave like that. Their behavior remains unpredictable all the way; it may take lots of patience and time to tame these natural characteristics.

Sometimes, they may allow you to hold, carry or even pet them, and in an instance, they may even bite your fingers. However, experts claim that minks bites are instinctual. What this means is that no matter how you train them to drop such a habit, they may never leave it.

If you’re looking for a friendly and cuddly pet, we recommend that you don’t think of adopting a mink.

Between both animals, it is easy to tame down ferrets when compared to minks. If ferrets are adopted at a young age and are appropriately trained, they make interesting, docile, and cuddly pets.

In the Mustelidae family, ferrets are the species that can fully adapt to domestication.

Between Mink And Ferret, Which Is The Right Pet For You?

As earlier stated in a section of this article, if you’re to choose between these two creatures, the best decision you can make is to go with the Ferret.

Generally, Minks do not make great pets. Minks will require a large environment similar to a zoo, a pool, and a large open-air enclosure that many people cannot afford. 

mink vs ferret

Also, be prepared to spend wholesomely on mink maintenance and vaccinations. 

Ferrets are inexpensive to care of and much more suitable for living with kids in a home. However, ferrets need a large cage and lots of attention. If you’re committed to taking care of ferrets, they could be a lovely addition to your household.

Mink vs Ferret – Health

In captivity, minks can live up to 10 years. It can decrease to 3 years due to illnesses, injuries, and higher predators in the wild. In contrast, Ferrets can live somewhere between 5 to 10 years old.

Some common health issues for pet ferrets include:

Below are common diseases ferrets are prone to

  • Parasites
  • Ringworm
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal foreign bodies
  • Various kinds of tumors
  • Giardiasis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Heart diseases

Here are some common health issues and diseases Mink are prone to

  • Aleutian disease
  • Canine distemper
  • Mink viral enteritis
  • Influenza
  • Aujeszky disease
  • Astrovirus
  • Epizootic catarrhal Gastroenteritis
  • Bacterial diseases such as Botulism, Hemorrhagic pneumonia, urinary infections, and urolithiasis, Mastitis).

Ferrets vs Minks – Habitat

Minks are semi-aquatic animals that stay in coastal areas and follow the shorelines where they search for prey. They are found near water bodies such as lakes, streams, or ponds with nearby tree cover. They can dive as deep as 10 to 12 feet underwater. 

Minks make homes by living in hollow logs or digging dens.

You can find mink species in America, but their origin goes all the way to Great Britain. 

For ferrets, in the wild, they live in grassy plains and make their home in tunnels that other animals have dug like the prairie dogs. After preying on them, ferrets are not good diggers, so they take over tunnels previously dug by other animals.

Conclusion: Ferret Vs Mink

Both animals came from the same genus, so they share some characteristics. However, ferrets make excellent pets than minks. Minks are aggressive but have significantly contributed to the hair industry.

If you love our article on the differences between minks and ferrets, kindly help us share this article.

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