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25 Mammals You Can See In Michigan

Michigan is known as the wolverine state, so it should be no surprise that they are one of the many mammals you can find in the state. Michigan is always one of my favorite places to visit and has some remarkable animals to be found.

While there are about sixty species of terrestrial mammals in Michigan, here are 25 mammals that you may be able to spot in Michigan.

American Marten

American Marten

The American marten is a small, solitary, and nocturnal member of the Mustelidae family. 

Their color ranges from yellowish-brown to black. They measure 32 to 54 cm and weigh from 0.5 to 1.3 kg.  

The American Marten eats smaller animals such as squirrels, birds, and mice but will also eat fruits and nuts. 

They are widely scattered in northern, mature conifer forests throughout the continent. They can be found both on the ground and living in trees, with an estimated lifespan of fewer than fifteen years.

American Badger

The American badger is one of many carnivorous North American mammals. Its color is dark gray with a white stripe on its back, white patches on its eyes, and a white underbody. 

The American badger measures from 60 to 75 cm and weighs 6.3 to 8.6 kg. This carnivore eats mice, squirrels, groundhogs, moles, and prairie dogs. 

They live in grasslands, prairies, marshes, and farms. Their lifespan is four to fourteen years in the wild and twenty-six in captivity.

Black bear

Black Bear

The American black bear is a midsize mammal from North America. Their color is not always black but can be brown, tan, or even blonde. 

They measure from 130 to 190 cm and weigh 200 to 300 kg. The black bear is an omnivore and has a varied diet.  This consists primarily of fish, mammals, insects, grasses, roots, and berries. 

This black bear is broadly distributed in forest habitats, with an average lifespan of twenty years.

Beaver

The North American beaver can reach up to 32 kg, with 20 kilograms being the average weight. They can measure 74-90cm, excluding the tail, which adds 25-30 cm. 

The beaver is the largest rodent in North America and is semi-aquatic. They have a transparent third eyelid allowing them to see underwater. 

Beavers play an essential role in the environment and are a keystone species. They are well known for building dams, canals, and lodges. They construct dams to flood areas to obtain access to food and protection.

They live in colonies and have orange teeth due to the amount of iron they contain.  This makes their teeth stronger than regular teeth.

The beaver is a herbivore and eats bark, cambium, roots, buds, and water plants. The North American beaver lives in forests (near water bodies) in the northern parts of North America, with a lifespan between 10 to 15 years. 

Bobcat

Bobcat

The bobcat is a nocturnal, elusive, midsize wildcat related to the lynx. Their appearance is like a big domestic cat with a bobbed tail. 

Their color can range from grayish brown to red, with a white underbody. They measure from 47 to 125 cm and weigh 8 to 9 kg. 

The bobcat is a carnivore and eats raccoons, squirrels, rodents, rabbits, birds, reptiles, skunks, and sometimes even deer. 

They have extraordinary night vision and can live in all types of habitats across the central section of North America. Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 12 years.

Canada lynx

Canada Lynx

The Canada lynx is a diurnal and solitary wildcat. Their paws have thicker so that they can travel through snow. 

Their color ranges from grayish-yellow to reddish-brown, and they have a black mark on the tip of their ears and tail. 

They measure from 76 to 110 cm and weigh 8 to 18 kg. They usually live in cold, dense forests with a lifespan of 15 years.

This carnivore eats mostly snowshoe hares and feeds on birds, fish, rats, and sometimes deer.

Photo of cougar

Cougar

The cougar is a solitary, elusive, and primarily nocturnal wildcat. They are also known as the puma, mountain lion, and catamount. 

Their color is grayish-brown with white on the underbody.  Cougars measure about 2.4 m long (including a long tail) and weigh 53 to 100 kg. 

Cougars are carnivores, with their main prey being deer.  They will also prey on elk, coyotes, mountain goats, beavers, moose, and wild sheep. Smaller cougars will prey on smaller mammals than larger cougars. 

They can live in an enormous range of habitats in North America.  They have a lifespan that ranges between 8 to 13 years.

coyote

Coyote

The coyote is a midsize canine with the look of a domestic dog and is thinner and smaller than the gray wolf.  Their color is grayish-brown with a white underbody. 

Coyotes measure about 1.5 m (including the tail) and weigh 6.8 to 21 kg. Their lifespan ranges from ten to fourteen years in the wild and up to twenty-one years in captivity.

Coyotes are adaptable and have an extremely varied omnivorous diet.  Their diet includes cactus fruits, flowers, insects, rodents, rabbits, birds, and reptiles. 

They can be found in most habitats across North America.

Deer mouse

Deer Mouse

The deer mouse is a small and reclusive rodent. Their color (which resembles a deer) varies from gray to brown, with a white underbody. 

They measure from 8 to 10 cm (without the tail) and weigh about 20g. 

The deer mouse is an omnivore feeding on various foods, such as seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. 

They live in many different habitats, including forests, mountains, deserts, grasslands, and tropical regions. 

Their lifespan is eight years in captivity and less than a year in the wild. They can carry viruses and bacteria that cause diseases in humans, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

Eastern Mole

Eastern Mole

The Eastern mole is a solitary, midsize mammal from the eastern United States. Their color is dark gray. They measure from 14 to 18 cm and weigh 40 to 50 g. 

The Eastern mole is a carnivore and eats worms, insects, larvae, mice, bugs, and small birds. 

Eastern moles live in grasslands and thin forests, with an expected lifespan of six years. 

The Eastern mole digs tunnels in search of food. Although they control the number of insects in a given location, they can cause damage to gardens and yards.

Elk

The elk is one of the largest members of the deer family. They live in the United States and southern Canada.  

Their color varies from tan to dark brown. They measure from 2.1 to 2.4 m in length and weigh between 220 to 330 kg. 

The elk is a herbivore that eats grass, leaves, bark, and brushwood. They live mainly in forests and have an expected lifespan of ten to thirteen years in the wild.

Ermine

Ermine

The ermine is a solitary weasel that lives in the northern part of the continent. 

Their color is dark brown on the back and white on the underbody during the summer. In winter, their color changes to almost pure white. 

The ermine measures from 17 to 32 cm and weigh about 260 g.  The ermine is a carnivore that eats mainly rodents but will also eat birds, fish, amphibians, small reptiles, and insects. 

They live in taigas and tundras, with a lifespan of four to six years in the wild.

Gray fox

Gray Fox

The gray fox is a solitary fox that lives in the southern part of the United States and Mexico.  

Their back has a scattered combination of light and dark gray with reddish-brown sides and an underbody of white. 

They measure from 76 to 112.5 cm and weigh from 3.6 to 7kg. Their lifespan is sixteen years in the wild and twenty years in captivity.

The gray fox is an omnivore and eats mice, birds, voles, rabbits, insects, corn, fruits, nuts, and berries. 

They live in dense forests, in areas with rocky terrain or thick vegetation.

Wolf

Gray Wolf

The gray wolf is a social canine that lives in the northern regions of North America. 

The colors of the gray wolf vary a lot depending on their geographical location. They can be gray, brown, black, tan, or white. However, the predominant color is gray. The underbody is usually lighter and sometimes white.  Gray wolves measure from 1.05 to 1.60 m and weigh 12 to 79.4 kg. 

Gray wolves are carnivores eating a wide variety of meat.  Gray wolves eat deer, beavers, boar, mountain goats, bison, elk, moose, birds, fish, rodents, and hares. 

They live in a great variety of habitats, including mountains, grasslands, forests, tundra, and deserts. 

Their lifespan is six to thirteen years in the wild and seventeen years in captivity.

Groundhog

Groundhog

The groundhog is a solitary, diurnal rodent. Their color is grayish brown. It measures from 41 to 68 cm (including the tail) and weighs 2 to 6.3 kg. 

Groundhogs are herbivores eating mainly wild grass, roots, leaves, barks, nuts, flowers, fruit, vegetables, and farming crops. They also eat insects such as grasshoppers and snails. 

Their big front teeth never stop growing, but feeding themselves wears the teeth down, keeping them at the correct size. 

Humans consider the groundhog a pest because it eats voraciously in the year’s warm months. 

They hibernate from October to March. They can be found in flat, open pieces of land such as low-elevation forests and grasslands in the northern regions of North America. 

They have a lifespan of 6 years in the wild and up to 14 years in captivity.

Least chipmunk

Least Chipmunk

The smallest chipmunk found in North America, the least chipmunk measures up to 200 mm, including the tail.  Their weight is up to 50g.

They have a shorter muzzle than other chipmunks and also be recognized by their longer tail, which can measure up to 90mm.

They can be found in Michigan, Washington, New Mexico, Quebec, and the Yukon.

They have five dorsal stripes, which can be a variety of colors from one least chipmunk to the next.  These range from black, reddish, brown, and tan.  

Their primary diet is seeds, with conifer seeds being their favorite.  The least chipmunk will also eat leaves, flowers, insects, carrion, and bird eggs.

Least weasel

Least Weasel

The least weasel is also known as the common weasel or little weasel.  They are the smallest member of the genus Mustela. 

They are native to North America, but also Eurasia and North Africa. Their bodies are slender and elongated, with relatively short tails and legs. 

The average body length is around 130 to 260 mm, and they weigh between 36 to 250 grams, with males being slightly bigger than females. 

The pelage color of least weasels varies according to the geographical location, but the underparts are usually white, and the back, limbs, and tail are brown. 

Their diet consists mainly of small rodents. Males mark their territory with olfactory signs and are strongly territorial and dominant weasels. 

Least weasels may have aggressive encounters with each other. The least weasel occupies a wide range of different habitats.

Moose

Moose

The moose is a solitary animal with huge antlers.  Moose are the largest members of the deer family. 

Their color ranges from light to dark brown. The moose is massive, measuring from 1.4 to 2.1 m in height and 2.4 to 3.2 m in length. They weigh from 200 to 700 kg.

Moose are herbivores and eat bark, leaves, pine cones, young branches, and fruits. Moose live in forests in the northern part of the entire world and lifespan from fifteen to twenty-five years.

Muskrat

Muskrat

The muskrat is the only species of the genus Ondatra. The muskrat is a midsize, primarily nocturnal, semiaquatic rodent from North America. Their colors vary from brown to black, with a lighter underbody. 

Muskrats measure from 40 to 70 cm and weigh 600 grams up to 2 kg. Their lifespan is 3 to 4 years.
The muskrat is an omnivore and eats aquatic vegetation, farm and garden plants, roots, pondweed, fruits, vegetables, snails, salamanders, crustaceans, fish, and birds. 

They live in wetlands in the northern part of North America. They are considered a pest because of the destruction it causes in the places they live and the diseases they can carry.

The fur of the muskrat is thick and short of a dark-brown color. Their tails are covered with scales that help them swim rapidly and efficiently. 

Muskrats spend most of their time in the water and can swim underwater for up to 17 minutes. This species usually lives in a group of males, females, and their offspring. 

Muskrats make nests to protect themselves from cold temperatures and predators. The nests are usually burrowed with an underwater entrance.

Porcupine

North American Porcupine

The North American porcupine is the second-largest rodent found in North America. Their back is covered with strong quills made of keratin. 

They can be easily recognized by quills that are solid at the tip and base and present around the body, except for the stomach.  The quills are used as a defense mechanism.

North American porcupines have a color that is dark brown or black with hairless feet. They measure from 60 to 90 cm without counting the tail, which measures around 14.5 up to 30 cm. They weigh from 4.5 to 18 kg.

They are herbivorous, eating leaves, seeds, grass, nuts, buds, fruits, and green plants. They are often found climbing on trees to eat leaves. 

The porcupine lives mostly in forests, deserts, and grasslands in the northern part of North America, with a lifespan of about 30 years. 

This species of porcupines are endangered because due to hunting and also because of loss of habitat.

Red bat

Red Bat

The Eastern red bat is found across North America and is a microbat species.  They measure 109 mm (4.3 in) with a weight of just 7 to 13.  

They have long pointed wings with short ears and a long tail.  

Eastern red bats are very maneuverable and can fly quickly with speeds up to 50 km p/h.  They do not hibernate, staying in the same regions all year.  They enter a state of torpor in hollow trees or leaf little to shelter.

They are prioritized as least concern by the IUCN.  Eastern red bats can be seen in the early evening either around the edges of forests and woods or flying around street lights.

Southern flying squirrel

Southern Flying Squirrel

The Southern flying squirrel is a nocturnal mammal that glides from one tree to the next with the aid of membranes between its front and hind legs. 

They live in the western regions of North America. Their color is grayish brown, with a white underbody. 

They measure from 21 to 26cm (including the tail) and weigh 45 to 82g. 

The Southern flying squirrel is an omnivore and eats nuts, seeds, spiders, acorns, fungi, eggs, insects, shrubs, buds, mushrooms, flowers, and fruits. 

These squirrels have gray fur and whitish color in their bellies. They use a furry membrane called a patagium that extends between the front and rear legs to glide through the air.

This species of flying squirrel is found in deciduous and mixed woods in the eastern regions of North America, from southeastern Canada to Florida. 

They have a lifespan of five to six years in the wild and ten years in captivity.

Star-nosed Mole

The star-nosed mole is a solitary mammal from the eastern regions of North America. 

Their color ranges from dark brown to black. They measure from 15 to 20 cm and weigh 37 to 76 g. 

The star-nosed mole is a carnivore and eats worms, amphibians, aquatic insects, mollusks, and small fish. 

They live in wet lowland areas, forests, and marshes. Their lifespan is 2.5 years in captivity. Using their star-nose, they can gather a clear image of their surroundings.

Opossum in winter

Virginia Opossum

The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. Their habitats can vary, and they are one of the species to thrive in urban areas.  They prefer living close to water sources. 

This medium-sized animal measures between 13-37cm in length and can weigh between 0.3-3.7 kg. 

They have relatively short legs and typically gray or brownish fur. 

This animal is known to act as if they are dead as protection against predators.

The Virginia opossum is an omnivore eating almost anything: carcasses, garbage, plants, animals, and insects. 

They live in deciduous forests, farming areas, marshes, swamps, and wooded streams. Their lifespan is four years.

Wolverine

The wolverine resembles a small bear but is the largest member of the Mustelidae family.

They are ferocious and have a huge strength for their body size.  They are the size of a medium dog but can take down prey many times their size, such as elk. 

They live in cold climates, with thick, oily fur which is resistant to frost.  They are dark in color, with a light mask on their face and a bushy tail.   

They have been called the skunk bear due to the scent glands to mark their territory.

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