Carden Alvar Nature Board by Bob BowlesRe(2): Where would that be?

Mink and River Otter are both members of the weasel family that are very aquatic and active all winter. The main difference between a Mink and River Otter is size. The smaller Mink is just over a foot long while the larger Otter is over two feet long. Size is hard to judge when you have nothing for size comparison but in this case we do have the Leopard Frog. Another difference between the two mammals is the colour of the fur. Both have rich dark brown coats on the back but otters have lighter almost silvery underparts while the mink has darker underparts a small, pure white patch on its chin and sometimes small, white spots on its belly.
In this situation using only the photo, the best field mark to use to confirm that it is a River Otter is the tail. Otters have a thick tail with a very thick base. Mink have a narrower, slight bushy tail without a prominent thicker base. Mink are very common in our area along lake margins and streams during the winter while otters are usually observed in winter on lake ice usually near their breathing hole.


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