The Mink In Nature
The mink is a semi-aquatic, carnivorous member of the weasel family, like the related otter, with partially webbed feet and a soft, thick coat, usually dark brown with a white patch on the lower lip and throat.
The mink is historically one of the best-known and most prized of fur-bearing mammals in the fur trade (sable being the prime example), and, like foxes, has been bred in captivity for this, express purpose. Captive ("ranch") mink are a startling range of colors, from near-black or gray to fawn and white; there are even piebald strains of mink coloration.
Feral American mink (M. vison) was introduced into European fur farms in the 1960's and subsequently escaped into the wild, leading them to be considered a harmful pest. This has also led them to be typically featured as villains in British talking animal stories:
Minks were very few and far between in art and literature until the advent of a character from Warner Bros. and Steven Spielberg's animated cartoon Animaniacs: Minerva Mink. Her appearance was widely applauded in the furry fandom, and her character's design is normally cited as specifically geared toward older viewers. Her appearance is highlighted by an excessively feminine physique, with wide hips and an unrealistically large chest and rear.
Other notable mink characters include:
- Vinson (personal avatar of Rod O'Riley)
- Coralee Perrier (the mink character in Animalympics)
- Karno's The Mink
- Margaret Mynque
- Ffiona from Supermegatopia MUCK
Mink is also the most commonly depicted species by Doug Winger in his artwork.
Mink also feature in naturalistic animal stories without dialogue (in the same genre as the well-known Tarka the Otter), including:
- Break for Freedom by Ewan Clarkson (1967. Reprinted 1971, 1976, 1978, 1984.)
- Greyhood: The Year of the Mink by Olly McGilloway (1988), ISBN 0856404012
Minks in the Furry Fandom
With few, micro-demographic exceptions (e.g. Tapestries MUCK), the mink is a comparatively uncommon species, constituting less than a tenth of a percent on sites such as Pounced.org and The Rabbit Hole, overwhelmingly surpassed in percentile by the more common archetypes. As such, there are very few stereotypes associated with mink characters and/or their players, the only exception being that minks are typically associated with exceptional, sexual endowments; a vast majority of adult artwork featuring minks contains hypertrophilia.
The mink subgroup displays a fairly unilateral spectrum in regard to gender; neither male, female nor multigendered characters predominate the species, although the species does yield a high percentage of hermaphroditic fursonas, possibly spurned by the works of Doug Winger, who typically drew them in such a fashion.
The mink species remains a highly uncommon choice, although, as of 2008, the species has risen in popularity, which could be attributed to an influx of artwork of mink characters being commissioned and/or made available on Furaffinity.