In early January a rare species of mink was filmed in the Florida Everglades. But the little guy wasn’t alone. In the video, the small mammal is seen emerging from a bank of trees. It then runs across a dirt road while clutching a snake in its mouth before disappearing out of view. The extraordinary footage was captured by resident Hannah Cardenas and posted to Facebook by Jen Hammer Cardenas.
See the snake video below.
Hannah sent the mink and snake footage to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Delighted by the find, the group shared the video across their social media platforms. In the accompanying caption, the organization explained that mink sightings are rare because of the animals’ elusive nature. “Imagine the surprise of seeing this Everglades mink scampering across the road carrying dinner!”
The post went on to describe how Hannah Cardenas happened upon the tiny creature. On their way home from a nature hike in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Hannah and her mother spotted the mink as it ran across the road in front of them. Seconds later, it ran back across the street with a giant snake in its mouth. The post has been viewed approximately 193,000 times.
Interestingly, mink occasionally prey on snakes longer than their body lengths. They also eat fish, birds, and other small mammals. According to the FWC website, the Everglades mink, which is threatened in Florida, is hard to study because this species is small-sized, fast-moving, and excellent at remaining out of sight. They are often confused with the much larger and more common river otter.
Sadly, the Everglades mink faces habitat destruction from changes in the water level in the marshes. This is largely due to drainage, logging, and the construction of dikes, canals, and roads in the area. According to Everglades Adventure, it is one of three types of American mink in Florida, all of which face threats from invasive species like the Burmese python – a powerful snake that wouldn’t make it to the creature’s dinner table.
But don’t underestimate minks! If they feel threatened, the animals can squirt out a smelly liquid that’s not unlike skunk spray when they’re startled. So don’t ever sneak up on them. It aims to ward off predators and to alert other mink to their presence. The snake-eating creatures are nocturnal and mostly solitary except during mating season. During that time, female minks have litters of three to six pups that stay with them through autumn.
Unfortunately, minks are also on The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species in Europe. The IUCN maintains a list of the extinction status of animal, plant, and fungal species. It’s seen as an indicator of global biodiversity. And it currently lists 40,000 species as threatened with extinction, says Outsider. Among the threats to the species are other animals like large snakes, hunting and trapping for use in fashion apparel and accessories, invasive species, and natural diseases.
For now, the American mink is doing a little better than its European counterpart. But intervention will be necessary to keep the latter species from deteriorating to the next stage on the IUCN’s barometer, which is extinct in the wild. No wonder the snake-carrying mink video made such a huge impact online.
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