The little black mink sang to me! Ok, she chirped at me. I was doing PM checks and went to check on her. She was resting in one of her hides, and she came out and right up as close to me as possible, hanging on to the top of her enclosure wires. And starting talking / singing / chirping. Loudly!
She has a very distinctive voice, so an hour or two later when another volunteer was in her enclosure to feed her, I could hear her sing from across the other side of the building. Of course, I went to see why she was calling out, and to ensure she was ok – and that’s how I found out she was singing to him, too. Apparently she chirps whenever people get close to her.
She is the first mink I’d ever seen. The first time I saw her, a few weeks ago, was when I was doing my PM checks. She was in an enclosure in a walk-in space, in the small mammal room where the cottontail bunnies are kept. When I went in to check on her, she came out of her hide box and over to the other side of her enclosure where I was, and climbed up the wire mesh, so we were face to face. She was quiet then. Her fur is a deep shiny black, and her face is almost feline, like a miniature black panther. Super alert black eyes.
She is not a patient, though. She was cornered and kidnapped by a guy who thought she was an escaped pet ferret. I can see why people mistake a mink for a ferret – their body shape is similar. They belong to the same overall scientific classification family, along with weasels, otter, and marten, but are a totally different animal. Mink are all still wild. And they are semi-aquatic – they eat fish and other creatures like crayfish, as well as small animals and birds. They can be seen in various places in Toronto, such as Toronto Islands and Tommy Thompson Park.
So the guy who caught her got bit in the process. Of course. Not realizing he was cornering a terrified a wild animal, not someone’s pet. And then, because the mink had bitten someone, she had to be in quarantine for a set period of time before she could be released and returned to her real home. That is why she has been at the TWC long enough for me to hear her sing.