Not all fascinating wildlife encounters involve large mammals – grizzly bears, wolves and whales.
Ladysmith resident Chris Walling had an up-close and personal encounter with a momma mink and her adorable youngster in a Cowichan Valley creek on Saturday.
Walling was snorkelling in the creek when he came upon the mother and two siblings and captured their actions on video. The mother and one youngster were in the creek and expecting a sibling sitting on a rock onshore to join them, but it appeared reluctant to get into the water.
It took a little convincing from the momma to get the little one into the water, Walling said. She had to grab it by the scruff of its neck and then plunged into the water, swimming along the rock with her offspring firmly clamped in her mouth. She then hauled the youngster out of the water and ran with it still in her jaws up a rock and into the creekside forest.
“The juvenile had proceeded as far as it could without getting wet and was reluctant to swim to mom and sibling,” Walling said. “After repeated instruction, mom mink lost patience and drags the little one into the water. This was just a small segment of the encounter. They paid me no heed.”
Care has to be exercised when encountering wild animals, especially mustelids like mink and otters, Walling said.
“In this case I was using a four-foot extension (on the camera) and never got between the sow and the cub. I didn’t impede movement in any way and made no attempt to chase,” Walling said.
Mink are small, amphibious weasels that are common in B.C. along the seashore and along streams. They feed on fish and invertebrates, small mammals and amphibians.