A Mink in The Boat

15 Aug 2012 Wildlife Stories

Mink on the Dock

The resident mink recently had a party in my boat, and I’m afraid it may have moved in.

A Mink Is Living In The Boat

The animal has been living in the area along my shoreline for as long as I have been here. In fact, I suspect there is an entire mink family, but I have only ever seen the one adult.

Moving quickly as it slips in and out of the water, the mink uses the long grass along the shoreline as cover. I rarely see it during the day and only got this photo of the little rascal when I decided to sit in the boat for half a day waiting for the mink to make an appearance.

Crayfish shells and mink poop regularly appear all over the dock, but recently the mink and its family or friends decided to move the feast into my boat.

The fact that the minks chose to have their meal in the boat didn’t particularly upset me, but they didn’t even have the courtesy to go ashore to relieve themselves, and my little friend in the picture above seems to be taking a bold stand on the issue.

Crayfish On The Carpet
On a recent Saturday morning I made my coffee and headed down to the dock to inspect the water level and see what might have washed up on shore during the night. When I looked at the boat, I was shocked to find the carpet was covered in crayfish shells and poop.

Crayfish Shells in Boat

Initially, I thought the river otters had stopped by during the night.

I hadn’t seen them on the property all summer but the otters can cover a large area, so it might have been possible.

I quickly cleaned up the mess and headed back to the cabin to have some breakfast.

Mink Droppings in Boat

When I returned to the boat some 20 minutes later, a new pile of poop sat in the the boat.

I thought I was starting to lose my mind, because I was sure I had cleaned it all up.

Looking around the boat, dock and shoreline, I expected to catch a glimpse of the culprit, but saw nothing.

The boat hadn’t been thoroughly cleaned for some time, so I decided to tidy up a bit. Using a mix of vinegar and baking soda I tried to get the residual mess out of the carpet and brought the vacuum down to clean up the rest of the dirt and debris in the boat.

A Disturbing Discovery
On inspecting the stern of the boat beside the bailing pump I noticed some loose bits of Styrofoam and discovered the critters had been doing more than just eating and defecating in my boat. It appeared as if they may have moved in.

Concerned and angry that the animals might still be there, I violently rocked the boat, turned on the motor, and vacuumed everywhere. If the scoundrels were still around, they didn’t come out.

Content that the boat was now clean and critter free, I unplugged the vacuum and took it back up to the cabin.

A Stand-Off
Five minutes later, as I returned to gather up the extension cord, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A new, fresh pile of poop had been deposited in the bow of the boat right where I had already cleaned it, twice!

Now, I am as much a fan and protector of the local wildlife as any cottager could be, but at this moment I must admit that my anger was starting to get the better of me.

I turned around to once again scour the shoreline, and as I did, I saw an adult mink scoot across the dock. It dove into the water and then re-emerged moments later to disappear into the shoreline weeds.

I had finally found my adversary. The mink was evidently standing its ground and making a point as to who’s territory I was invading.

The vinegar obviously didn’t work as a deterrent, so I grabbed a bottle of Pine-Sol and liberally scrubbed the entire carpeted area in the boat where the mink had defecated in the hope of keeping it away.

I also placed a few mothballs in a stocking and tied them underneath the stern of the boat in the spot where the mink had been chewing at the Styrofoam.

After a quick lunch, I decided to stake out the dock to see if the mink would make another pass. Camera in hand, I sat under one of the oak trees and eagerly watched for an hour but the mink didn’t arrive.

Throughout the afternoon and early evening I periodically checked the boat and found no new presents, and thought that maybe I had won the battle.

Another Nasty Gift
Then next morning, I woke early and went straight down to the boat.

There, sitting in the bow, just outside of the area previously soiled, sat a new tiny pile of mink poop. I gritted my teeth, cursed repeatedly, and started dreaming about a nice new pair of mink fur slippers.

No crayfish shells had been strewn around and there were no other signs of the mink having been in the boat, but it had obviously returned to deposit another little gift just to show me who’s the boss.

How do you keep a determined mink out of your boat?
At this point I really didn’t know, but my father eventually came up with a great solution.

Go to the Keeping A Mink Out Of The Boat page for a DIY idea that appears to have worked.

Written and photographed by: Andrew Walker

Go to the Boat Maintenance Tips page to get information on how to clean boat carpet stains.
Go to the How to Deal With Cottage Wildlife page.

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