Minnesota Mammals

 
Class Mammalia

Mammalia is the class of animals that is distinguished as having 3 middle ear bones, hair, mammary glands, and a neocortex (a region of the brain).

There are currently 5,487 species in 27 orders worldwide. There are 474 mammal species in 166 genera and 46 families currently found in North America north of Mexico and its adjacent waters. There are 78 mammal species native to and currently found in Minnesota.


American black bear

 

 

           

Recent Additions

 
American badger
   

American badger (Taxidea taxus) is a solitary, medium-sized, common but seldom seen, carnivorous mammal. It is a solitary animal, active mostly at night but also often during the day, especially in early morning. It has a home range of about 1 square mile in which it may have up to 46 burrows. It is a good digger, the only mammal that can dig out pocket gophers. It eats mostly ground squirrels and pocket gophers, but also voles, mice, reptiles (including rattlesnakes), amphibians, ground-nesting birds and their eggs, insects, and other invertebrates.

Badgers are easily recognized. The low, flattish profile and white middorsal head stripe are diagnostic. The common name is thought to refer to the black “badge”-shaped markings on their cheeks. There are four, fifteen, or twenty-one subspecies of badger in North America, depending on who you ask. All sources recognize the two subspecies found in Minnesota. Common badger, the largest subspecies, is found in the western border counties. Jackson’s badger, typically darker and smaller, is found in the remainder of the state.

  American badger
  Photo by Wayne Rasmussen
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Northern short-tailed shrew
   

Northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) is the only poisonous mammal on the North American mainland. Its poisonous bite allows it to paralyze its prey and eat it at a later time. It is sufficiently strong to kill animals up to the shrew’s size, and to produce a very painful reaction in humans who handle the shrew.

It has a poor sense of smell and very poor vision. It can navigate and detect objects in its environment using echolocation and and touch. Like bats, it emits a series of ultrasonic squeaks to detect its surroundings. Unlike bats, it does not use echolocation to locate prey. Its snout and whiskers are highly sensitive to touch.

There are 385 species of shrew worldwide, 7 in Minnesota. Northern short-tailed shrew is the largest and most widespread in eastern North America and the most common in Minnesota. The combination of large size and short tail distinguish this from all other shrew species in Minnesota.

  northern short-tailed shrew
  Photo by Bill Reynolds
   
   
   
   
   

Southern red-backed vole
   

There are six species of voles found in Minnesota. Southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi) is one of the smallest. It is common in moist deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests with stumps and logs for ground cover. It is usually the most common rodent in cedar, tamarack, and black spruce swamps. It is active both during the day and at night but more often at night. It is solitary, not forming colonies or pair bonds. It forages mostly on the ground but also in trees. This is the only vole in Minnesota that is a good climber of trees.

Southern red-backed vole is distinguished from mice by a stouter body; shorter, hairy tail; smaller ears and eyes; and molars with high crowns and angular cusps. It is easily distinguished from other voles by the gray sides and reddish back.

  southern red-backed vole
  Photo by Kirk Nelson
   
   
   
   

Eastern red bat
   

Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) is a medium-sized hairy-tailed bat. In their definitive work on eastern mammals, John O. Whitaker, Jr., and William J. Hamilton, Jr. describe it as “one of the most beautiful of all American bats.” It is widespread in Minnesota but not common. It is found in trees near open areas.

During the day they hang by their feet in a tree or shrub with dense foliage above and to the sides but clear below, leaving a clear flight path. They for just a few hours beginning at dusk. They locate their prey both by echolocation and by sight. Males and females have different summer ranges. They are solitary individuals but come together to migrate in flocks of up to several hundred individuals. They head south for the winter but their wintering range is unknown.

Bats are important vectors of the rabies virus but rabid bats pose little threat to humans. They are passive, will not attack, and will not bite unless handled.

Eastern red bat is named for the brick-red fur of the male. It is further distinguished from other bats in Minnesota by white shoulder patches, long tail not extending beyond the wing-like flight membrane, flight membrane near the tail densely furry above, tail hairy above, and the projection partially covering the ear opening hairy at the base.

  eastern red bat

Prairie deer mouse
   

North American deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is common and widespread in North America. It is probably the animal most responsible for the transfer of the deadly hantavirus to humans in the central and southwestern United States. The species is recognized by its small size and its sharply bicolored tail.

There are 67 currently recognized subspecies of Peromyscus maniculatus in North America. Two of these occur in Minnesota.

Prairie deer mouse (P. m. bairdii) is found on grasslands and agricultural fields. This subspecies is recognized by its smaller size, its shorter tail, and its preference for grassland habitats.

  prairie deer mouse
  Photo by Bill Reynolds

Other Recent Additions
   

fisher (Martes pennanti)

bobcat (Lynx rufus)

gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus)

star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata)

northern river otter (Lontra canadensis)

mountain lion (Puma concolor)

 

 

 

 

           
Profile Photo Video      

Profile Photo Photo

American badger (Taxidea taxus)

 

American badger

American beaver

American bison

American black bear

American red squirrel

eastern chipmunk

eastern cottontail

eastern fox squirrel

eastern gray squirrel

albino eastern gray squirrel

eastern red bat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

meadow vole

muskrat

North American porcupine

 

 

 

northern raccoon

northern short-tailed shrew

plains pocket gopher

prairie deer mouse

 

 

 

 

southern red-backed vole

 

 

 

 

 

 

whitetail deer

woodchuck

Profile Photo Photo

American beaver (Castor canadensis)

 
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American bison (Bison bison)

 
Profile Photo Photo

American black bear (Ursus americanus)

 
     

American marten (Martes americana)

 
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American mink (Neovison vison)

 
     

American pygmy shrew (Sorex hoyi)

 
Profile Photo Photo

American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

 
     

American water shrew (Sorex palustris)

 
     

arctic shrew (Sorex arcticus)

 
     

big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

 
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bobcat (Lynx rufus)

 
     

Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

 
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coyote (Canis latrans)

 
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eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

 
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eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

 
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eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger)

 
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eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

 
     

eastern heather vole (Phenacomys ungava)

 
     

eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus)

 
Profile Photo Photo

eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis)

 
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eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius)

 
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elk (Cervus canadensis)

 
     

ermine (Mustela erminea)

 
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fisher (Martes pennanti)

 
     

Franklin’s ground squirrel (Spermophilus franklinii)

 
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gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

 
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gray wolf (Canis lupus)

 
     

hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus)

 
     

house mouse (Mus musculus)

 
     

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus)

 
     

least weasel (Mustela nivalis)

 
     

little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)

 
     

long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata)

 
     

masked shrew (Sorex cinereus)

 
     

meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius)

 
Profile Photo Photo

meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus)

 
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moose (Alces americanus)

 
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mountain lion (Puma concolor)

 
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muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

 
     

North American least shrew (Cryptotis parva)

 
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North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)

 
     

northern bog lemming (Synaptomys borealis)

 
     

northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)

 
     

northern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys leucogaster)

 
     

northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)

 
     

northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides)

 
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northern raccoon (Procyon lotor)

 
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northern river otter (Lontra canadensis)

 
Profile Photo Photo

northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda)

 
     

Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)

 
Profile Photo Photo

plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius)

 
     

plains pocket mouse (Perognathus flavescens)

 
Profile Photo Photo

prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii)

 
Profile   Photo

prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster)

 
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red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

 
     

Richardson’s ground squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii)

 
     

rock vole (Microtus chrotorrhinus)

 
     

silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)

 
     

smoky shrew (Sorex fumeus)

 
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snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus)

 
     

southern bog lemming (Synaptomys cooperi)

 
     

southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans)

 
Profile Photo Photo

southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi)

 
    Photo

star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata)

 
Profile   Photo

striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

 
Profile   Photo

thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus)

 
     

tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

 
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Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)

 
     

western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis)

 
  Photo Photo

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

 
     

white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)

 
    Photo

white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii)

 
  Photo Photo

woodchuck (Marmota monax)

 
     

woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou)

 
     

woodland deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus gracilis)

 
     

woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis)

 
     

woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum)

 
         

 

 

No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for a mammal in the list at left you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that mammal. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the mammal in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that mammal featuring your contribution.

 

 

Capitalization of Common Names

Some authors capitalize mammal common names, but this is controversial and generally not accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

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