Mink escapes from fur farm

It’s easy to see why Tatiana’s fur – the very thing that makes her so beautiful – also makes her vulnerable. Except for a single white spot on her chin, Tatiana is jet black from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail. Her thick, silky fur has an incredible sapphire blue sheen. Tatiana is a kind of mink imported from Russia and raised in the United States for fur farming. Luckily, she escaped from the fur farm she was raised on and ended up safe at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Tatiana the mink’s great escape

Tatiana’s great escape saved her from a horrible fate, but it didn’t mean she was safe. From the same family as weasels, otters and badgers, mink are woodland creatures who thrive in a cold climate, so the Utah desert wasn’t her natural habitat. Tatiana loves the water almost as much as her otter cousins do – and there isn’t much water to be found in the American Southwest. Surviving on her own would have been a challenge, to say the least.

But she couldn’t have been picked up and turned into a pet, either. Though she looks a bit like a ferret, and is the same size as one, she can’t be housed in the same way. Mink get stressed in cramped spaces; they require an indoor/outdoor habitat with plenty of space and opportunities for enrichment. A sturdy enclosure in which they feel safe, yet can’t escape, is crucial. And that’s exactly what Wild Friends caregivers have set up for Tatiana here at the Sanctuary.

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Tatiana the minkA veritable playground for a playful mink

Three people can fit comfortably inside Tatiana’s enclosure. She’s got her own little pond and lots of nooks, crannies, and little plastic pet igloos to curl up inside. She’s also got tunnels made out of outdoor drainage pipes, which make for hours of fun. Tatiana loves racing back and forth from one end of a pipe to the other and peeking her pretty little face out to see who’s there to admire her.

And she’s got more toys than a spoiled two-year-old child. Her favorite ones are long plush dog toys because they are close in shape to other mink. Tatiana carries her toys with her everywhere, including the tunnels. It’s hilarious to watch her try to pull a toy bigger than her into the end of a pipe – but she’s strong and usually succeeds.

A mink’s paradise

Tatiana is still a bit cautious around people, but she’s extremely inquisitive. She’ll come up and sniff your shoe, and, while she’s at it, consider crawling up your pant leg. Though she chooses not to be petted, it’s likely she will become more trusting over time. Mink are carnivorous and highly food motivated, so perhaps a few cat treats will encourage her to accept some affection one day.

Despite her friendly nature, Tatiana isn’t available for adoption. She’ll either live out her life at Best Friends, or go to another licensed facility that can provide her the habitat and enrichment she requires. Either way, Tatiana will spend her remaining years in a mink’s paradise as the rightful wearer of the beautiful fur coat she was born with.

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Photos by Molly Wald