Source of the photo above: https://www.especes-menacees.fr/actualites/nouvel-espoir-pour-vison-europe/
Today for the letter V, I want to present the cute little « vison » or mink. This little animal can be found both in Europe and North America (where it is slightly bigger than the European mink). In the French North America, the « vison » is often referred to as a « belette » although that latest term is often used for several types of small animals.
The mink is a semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal of the Mustelidae family which also includes such species as weasels ( « belettes » ), otters ( « loutres » ) and ferrets ( « furets » ). The « vison » lives mostly near water and usually ventures only a few hundred yards from it if ever it is hungry for rabbit which is his favorite delicacy. So you can see them along seashores or rivers or streams.
Being semi-aquatic animals « visons », despite not having palmed feet, eats anything from fish to small crustaceans including crab to small mammals along with birds and eggs. The predators of the « vison » include large owls, bobcats, coyotes, foxes and wolves and definitely man who hunts and traps him or her to this day for its fur mostly.
A male mink can weigh up to a kg (2.2 lbs) and measure 62 cm (2 feet) long while a female is slightly smaller. But both male and female’s tail can measure 12 to 22 cm (5 to 9 inches) long. « Visons » only breed once a year and can give birth to from 6 to 10 kits per litter.
A wild mink’s fur is usually glossy brown and very silky. That is why « visons » are being hunted to this day and used to be locked up in small cages in farming type facilities. Their fur alone is the demise of the minks. It was and still is highly praised for its shine and silkiness. Farm bred mink’s fur can vary from white to black. There is a ban on mink fur farms in some countries but « visons » have seen better days before man discovered their luxurious furs.
The french word « vison » comes probably from the latin word viso-nis or « vission » meaning « stink » for the foul smell of the « vison’s » urine that leaves it spread to mark his or her territory. The pronunciation of the word « vison » is very simple. It sounds just like « vision » but without the middle i and you do not pronounce the letter n at the end of the word.
See you soon for the letter W.