29 October 2020
NORDEN — Mammals (Mink)
Issued on: 2020-10-29
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut
Printing: Offset lithography
Denomination: 50g til Evropu (face value IsKr 250 on day of issue)
700A Norden stamp 2020 – Mammals. Mink. 50g to Europe (250 ISK)
The Mustelidae (from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, minks, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are a diverse group and form the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56–60 species across eight subfamilies.
Mink are dark-colored, semiaquatic, carnivorous mammals of the genera Neovison and Mustela, and part of the family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels, otters and ferrets. There are two extant species referred to as “mink”: the American mink and the European mink. The extinct sea mink is related to the American mink but was much larger. The American mink is larger and more adaptable than the European mink but, due to variations in size, an individual mink usually cannot be determined as European or American with certainty without looking at the skeleton. However, all European mink have a large white patch on their upper lip, whereas only some American mink have this marking. Therefore, any mink without the patch is certainly of the American species. Taxonomically, both American and European mink were placed in the same genus Mustela but the American mink has since been reclassified as belonging to its own genus, Neovison.
The American mink’s fur has been highly prized for use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Their treatment on fur farms has been a focus of animal rights and animal welfare activism. American mink have established populations in Europe (including Great Britain) and South America, after being released from mink farms by animal rights activists, or otherwise escaping from captivity. In the UK, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release mink into the wild. In some countries, any live mink caught in traps must be humanely killed.
American mink are believed by some to have contributed to the decline of the less hardy European mink through competition (though not through hybridization—native European mink are in fact more closely related to polecats than to North American mink). Trapping is used to control or eliminate introduced American mink populations.
Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, as well as to treat, preserve and waterproof leather.
The male weighs about 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) and is about 62 cm (24 1⁄2 in) in length. Farm-bred males can reach 3.2 kg (7 lb 1 oz). The female weighs about 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) and reaches a length of about 51 cm (20 in). The sizes above do not include the tail, which can be from 12.8 to 22.8 cm (5 1⁄16 to 9 in).
A mink’s rich glossy coat in its wild state is brown and looks silky. Farm-bred mink can vary from white to almost black, which is reflected in the British wild mink. Their pelage is deep, rich brown, with or without white spots on the underparts, and consists of a slick, dense underfur overlaid with dark, glossy, almost stiff guard hairs.