Habitat preferences of feral American mink in the Upper Thames
Yamaguchi N., Rushton S., Macdonald DW.
Habitat use by members of a wild population of American mink (Mustela vison) was evaluated by continuous monitoring of individuals that were live trapped and radiotracked year round in the Upper Thames region, United Kingdom. Spatially lagged autoregressive models were used to investigate the relationship between population abundance and measured habitat variables. Resident mink were found in places characterized by rich tree cover, plenty of scrub, rank grasses, and especially abundant rabbits, and they avoided open habitat characterized by farming activities. These trends were not detected, however, in either transient adults or juveniles. The presence of the opposite sex did not appear to influence the presence of resident mink of the other sex. The single most important feature influencing the presence of resident mink was the size of rabbit warrens. Warrens were, overall, the most important den sites for mink, especially for breeding females. Because the distribution of rabbit warrens seemed to be strongly affected by riverside farmland management, this might eventually determine the distribution and local population growth of feral mink in the Upper Thames region.