: Mink are semi-aquatic members of the weasel family like their larger cousin the river otter. Mink also have long bodies with short legs and small ears, but their bodies are slim and they have a triangular, flat skull. They also have dark brown fur, but have white spots on their chin and chest. Mink weigh between 1½ and 3½ lbs., only 10% the weight of otters. They are also smaller than otters, at about 1 to 2 feet in length from their nose to the tip of their furry, slender tail, which is less than one half the length of their body. Mink can be mistaken for young river otters; however otter pups would normally be accompanied by their mother, who would weigh around 15 lbs.
Beavers: Beavers are North America’s largest rodent and are quite abundant in Colorado. They have large, stocky, rotund bodies with short legs, small eyes and ears, and prominent front teeth. They have dark brown to almost black fur, with a paler underbelly. Beavers are heavier than otters, weighing between 30 and 60 lbs. Their head and body are about 3 feet long, and their flat, scaly, paddle-like tail ranges from 9” to 12” in length, differing significantly in shape from the otter’s long, tapered tail.
Muskrats: The muskrat is a semi-aquatic rodent, like their much larger cousin the beaver. They have a similar body shape to the beaver, with a stocky, rotund body, short legs, and small eyes and ears. They also have dark brown fur. Muskrats weigh between 2 and 4 lbs., only about 13% the weight of otters. They are about 26” in length from their nose to the tip of their long, narrow tail, which is about 8” to 10” in length. Their tail is black, scaly, and resembles that of a rat, but is flattened side-to-side, differing markedly in shape from the otter’s tail.