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Curious mink approaches man ice fishing on frozen northern Ontario lake
SUDBURY -- An ice fisherman's recent close encounter with a playful mink on a frozen lake in northern Ontario was captured on video.
Tracey Hannah says it happened on Monday evening around 6 p.m. while on Ahmic Lake in Magnetawan, north east of Parry Sound.
Hannah says the animal approached her and her husband, Wayne Garrett, from the shore and kept diving down one of their ice fishing holes.
"It is cute and we were shocked that it came right up twice to get minnows," said Hannah.
She and her husband thought it was a skinny otter, but Paul Van Zutphen from Ontario Fur Managers Federation says it is a mink.
The weasel-like animals are very common throughout Ontario. They have short legs, a long neck and trunk, and a small, sharply-pointed face with small ears.
Mink are semi-aquatic mammals with dense, oily underfur and stiff hair between their hind toes to help them swim. Their defense mechanism is to give off a strong musky odour, similar to and said to be more offensive than a skunk.
They are usually 18 to 30 inches long, including an 8 inch tail, and weigh between 1.13 and 2.75 lbs.
Minks do not change colours, but undergo a moulting twice a year.
They are usually solitary, nocturnal animals that prefer underground dens near water, such as streams, lakes or ponds, and avoid open areas. They can often be seen hunting at dawn and dusk and are active all year.
Hannah was able to record the mink approaching her husband as he held out a minnow they were using as ice fishing bait. The video shows the mink snatching the minnow and eating it several feet from Garrett.