Squamish photographer Brian Aikens stayed stock-still to snap these pictures of a mink in the Squamish Estuary on Saturday.
"I have seen them a few times before, but usually at a distance and fleetingly," he said. "Staying perfectly still for over a half-hour allowed me to capture some images of this cute little critter."
Here are some facts about the furry creature from the provincial government:
*There are two sub-species of mink: inland mink that are predominately freshwater, and coastal minks found along ocean shores;
*The female mink is smaller and narrower than the male;
*They are about half the size of a house cat;
*They travel and create their dens often within less than 100 metres of the shoreline;
* In B.C., the mink is common throughout the mainland, although not at higher elevations;
*Most coastal foraging is done in the water or in the intertidal zone at low tide. They eat shellfish (mainly crabs) and small fish. Other invertebrates such as sowbugs are also eaten, and birds are taken opportunistically, but coastal minks appear to rarely prey on mammals;
*They are very efficient hunters and often kill beyond their immediate needs, so they store their catches;
*Adult minks spend their time alone, except for short periods during the mating season when females are accompanied by dependent young;
*Inland minks breed in late February through March in most areas, but the mating season for coastal animals in B.C. occurs primarily in late May through mid-June;
*Litters can include up to eight babies (kits), but the average is about four. Females produce only one litter per year;
* Mink are most active between dusk and dawn, and particularly after dark,But its activity is also influenced by the tidal cycle, and they often travel and forage during daylight hours if that is when the lowest tide occurs;
*In captivity, a mink can live for up to eight years, but in the wild, their life expectancy is about three years;
*The reported mink harvest in B.C. peaked at 46,284 animals in 1933. The wild mink harvest has hovered at less than 1,000 animals since 1995;
*The provincial government has announced a permanent ban on live mink farms by April 2023.