Cunning, carnivorous mammals reaching up to 4' in length, black minks were dangerous freshwater predators. Much larger than their kin, they were strong swimmers in spite of their weight which is fifty to eighty pounds. (Males were larger than female.) Black minks were most common in the Wetwang (Nindalf), near Ithilien, but they could occasionally be found in other areas in north-central Middle-earth, always near water (marshes, stream or riverbanks, or the shore of freshwater lakes).

Black minks were voracious and seemed to possess a surprising degree of brutal intelligence. They had been known, for example to wait for a young, tender creature of some sort to stray far from its mother before attacking. They usually hunted alone, but in the early spring they came together in groups of 7-12 to choose mates for the year. At this time they would attack anything that crossed the path. They could not be driven off when they were in this state, on killed, and they would fight until literally torn apart.

If an intact pelt was somehow obtained by such subtle methods as poison or drowning (difficult, as they could hold their breath for up to ten minutes), it was worth a great deal of money (anywhere from six to fifteen gold pieces, depending upon the market), for the fur of the black mink was fabulously thick and glossy, as well as heir entirely waterproof.


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