There are many species of mammal in the state of Minnesota and these have adapted to survive the harsh winters. In this article we look at which mammals live in Minnesota.
Minnesota has a wide variety of habitats that support many species of mammals. There are many species of mice, rats, shrews and voles living in the state along with larger animals such as wild cats and canines. The state mammal is the white-tailed deer.
For more information on which mammals live in the state of Minnesota please read on.
The American badger is one of many carnivorous North American mammals. Their 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 from 6.3 to 8.6 kg. This carnivore eats mice, squirrels, groundhogs, moles, marmots, 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.
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 a further 25-30 cm.
They beaver is the largest rodent in North America and are semi-aquatic. They have a transparent third eyelid allowing them to see underwater.
Beavers play an important 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.
American 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 from 200 to 300 kg. The black bear is an omnivore and has a varied diet. This consists mostly of fish, mammals, insects, grasses, roots, and berries.
This black bear is broadly distributed in forest habitats, with an average lifespan of twenty years.
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 less than fifteen years.
The American mink can be found in northern regions of North America. The color varies from brown to black, and they have a white patch on the throat.
They measure from 31 to 45 cm and weigh from 400 to 1580 g. Their lifespan is three to four years in the wild and ten years in captivity.
American mink are carnivores eating muskrats, snakes, mice, fish, rabbits, chipmunks, birds, and frogs. They live in wet areas like swamps and marshlands or near water bodies.
American Pygmy Shrew
The American pygmy shrew is a small mammal from the north of the continent. Their color ranges from reddish-brown to grayish brown, and the pygmy shrew has a light color on their underbody.
This species of shrew measures up to 5 cm and weighs from just 2 to 4.5 g.
The American pygmy shrew is an insectivore and will eat insects and larvae. They live in coniferous and deciduous forests, with a lifespan of about 16 to 17 months.
American Red Squirrel
The red squirrel is a small, solitary, and diurnal animal. Their color is gray, red or dark brown, with white on its underbody, and sometimes has black stripes on its sides.
They measure from 28 to 35 cm (including the tail) and weighs from 200 to 282 g.
The red squirrel eats sunflower seeds and all types of nuts. They are arboreal, living in coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests, with a lifespan of 5 to 10 years.
American Water Shrew
The American water shrew is a solitary and semiaquatic species of shrew. Their color changes throughout the year, from light brown in the summer to black in the winter.
The water shrew measures from 13 to 17 cm and weighs from 8 to 18 g. They live in streams and ponds, with a lifespan of about 18 months.
This species of water shrew is an omnivore eating aquatic insects, small fish, plants, and snails.
The Arctic shrew is a midsize, solitary mammal from the northern regions of North America.
Their colors are dark brown on the back, lighter brown on the sides, and grayish-brown on the underbody. They measure from 7.5 to 12 cm and weighs from 5 to 13 g.
This insectivore eats insects and small invertebrates. They live in open areas near wetlands, clearings in snow forests, and conifer swamps. Their lifespan is just 18 months.
Big Brown Bat
The big brown bat is an insectivore that eats mostly beetles, but also consumes other flying insects like moths, flies, and wasps.
They live in all types of habitats, with a lifespan ranging from 18 to 20 years. This animal carries a lot of diseases, including rabies and parasites such as tapeworms and fleas.
The big brown bat is a small, nocturnal flying mammal. They live in colonies and uses echolocation to locate objects while flying at night. The color varies from brown to black.
They measure from 11 to 13 cm, with a wingspan from 32 to 40 cm, and it weighs from 15 to 26 g.
The species of bat lives in North America and the Carribean.
The bobcat is a nocturnal and 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 from 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.
The brown rat is a rodent that lives all over the world. Their color is brown with a lighter color on the underbody.
The brown rat measures from 15 to 28 cm and weigh from 140 to 500 g.
The brown rat is an omnivore, eating seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, eggs, birds, mice, small rabbits, fish, and insects.
They live in forests, urban and suburban areas, and have a lifespan of two years.
The Canadian 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 from 8 to 18 kg. They usually live in cold, dense forests, with a lifespan of 15 years.
This carnivore eats mostly snowshoe hares but also feeds on birds, fish, rats, and sometimes deer.
The cougar is a solitary, elusive, and mostly 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 from 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.
The coyote is a midsize canine, with the look of a domestic dog, and are 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 from 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.
The deer mouse is a small and reclusive rodent. Their color (which resembles that of 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 a wide variety of foods, such as seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects.
They live in many different habitats including forests, mountains, deserts, grasslands, and tropical regions throughout most of North America.
Their lifespan is eight years in captivity and less than a year in the wild. They can carry viruses and bacteria that cause diseases to humans, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).
The Eastern chipmunk is a solitary animal. Their color is reddish-brown with two white stripes surrounded by black stripes on the side of its back and head, with a fifth black stripe running across the center of its back. The chipmunks underbody has a lighter brown color.
They measure about 30 cm (including the tail) and weigh from 66 to 150 g.
The Eastern chipmunk is an omnivore that eats acorns, insects, eggs, mushrooms, snails, nuts, fruits, seeds, berries, and corn.
They like to live in rocky areas, logs, and bushes in deciduous forests and urban parks. They live in the eastern United States and Southeast Canada, with a lifespan of three years.
The Eastern cottontail is a solitary, mostly nocturnal rabbit that lives in the southeast of the United States, and parts of Central and South America.
Their color varies from reddish-brown to grayish brown, with a white underbody. They measure about 37 cm and weigh about 1.2 kg.
The Eastern cottontail is a herbivore that eats various grasses, branches, bark, clover, fruits, and vegetables. Their habitat is mainly grasslands. Their lifespan is three years in the wild and eight years in captivity.
Eastern Gray Squirrel
The Eastern gray squirrel is a diurnal and solitary animal. The color varies from gray to grayish red, and the underbody is white.
The Eastern gray squirrel measures from 23 to 30 cm (including the tail) and weigh 400 to 600 g.
The Eastern gray squirrel is an omnivore and eats nuts, acorns, insects, berries, bird eggs, and seeds.
The Eastern gray squirrel is an adaptable animal that lives in the trees on the Eastern side of North America. They have an expected lifespan of six years.
Eastern Heather Vole
The Eastern heather vole can be found throughout Canada. They can be found in coniferous forests, wet meadows, willow thickets and forest edges.
The Eastern heather vole is a herbivore feeding on berries, seeds, fungus, lichen and shrubs. They collect their food for later use storing it in their burrows. Food is collected at night for use during the day.
The nest of the Eastern heather vole has a hidden entrance with several tunnels leading off. Nests are usually hidden under a log stump or rock.
Males and females are approximately the same size with a weight up to 40g and a length of 15 cm.
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 from 40 to 50 g. This carnivore 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.
The Eastern pipistrelle can be found near water in open woods. They can be found roosting in buildings, caves and crevices. They can also be found roosting in tree foliage during the summer. In the winter, they can be founding roosting in mines, caves and crevices.
The Eastern pipistrelle are small with a fur that is yellowish-brown. Their fur has a dark base and tip, with a yellowish-brown middle.
Females are larger than males, with females weighing 7.9g compared to males at 7.5g. They are also slightly larger at 89mm in length.
Although the Eastern pipistrelle copulates between August and October, the females store the sperm over the hibernation period before ovulating in spring. The young of the Eastern pipistrelle is unique in that they are born as twins.
Eastern Red Bat
The Eastern red bat is found across North America, and is a species of microbat. 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. They do not hibernate, chosing to stay in the same regions all year.
They are prioritized as least concern by the IUCN.
Eastern Spotted Skunk
The Eastern spotted skunks are a small-sized species of skunk that can found inhabiting the Great Plains and Southeastern Woodlands. They can also be found in Canada and the northeastern regions of Mexico.
The Eastern spotted skunk typically measures between 46 and 68 cm in body length and their body range spans between 0.2 and 1.8 kilograms. Males are usually bigger than females.
Eastern spotted skunks have four stripes on their back which are broken in a pattern, giving a spotted appearance from which their name comes from.
They are more active compared to other species of skunks. Their main predators are mostly big cats, owls, and bobcats.
During wintertime, up to eight skunks can share a burrow underground. Eastern spotted skunks are quite secretive and rare for humans to spot. They do not hibernate but tend to reduce their activity during the winter season greatly.
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.
The fisher is a small, solitary, mainly nocturnal, aggressive, and elusive weasel. They are related to the American marten.
Their color varies from dark brown to black, with a lifespan of seven years in the wild and, in rare cases, up to 14 years in captivity. They measure from 75 to 120 cm and weigh from 2 to 6 kg.
The fisher is a carnivore that eats mice, snowshoe hares, birds, cats, poultry, shrews, porcupines, and squirrels.
Even though they move on the ground most of the time, they are also an excellent climber.
They live in forests in the southern part of Canada and the northern and western part of the United States.
The Eastern fox squirrel is also known as Bryant’s fox squirrel. The Eastern fox squirrel is the largest species of tree squirrel in North America.
Their total body length ranges from 45 to 70 cm, with a weight ranging between 500 to 1000 grams.
They coexist in certain areas with the Eastern gray squirrel, but has more brownish colored fur with darker underparts that make it recognizable.
The fox squirrel has sharp claws and they have developed strong abdominal muscles to help them climb.
Fox squirrels have excellent vision and a great sense of smell.
Franklin’s Gound Squirrel
Franklin’s ground squirrel is a species of squirrel native to North America and the only member of its genus. The common name of these squirrels comes from the British Arctic Explorer after which they were named.
The destruction of the prairie had resulted in heavy losses in population numbers for this species but they are now prolific and abundant.
They are medium-sized squirrels with a total body length of 36 to 41 cm and a body mass of approximately 950 grams, with females being significantly lighter than males.
Their fur is brownish gray with light and dark speckles, which fade to yellowish on the underparts. The tail is darker in color and is almost black.
These squirrels have several scent glands at the corner of the mouth and from the shoulders to the pelvis, which they use to mark their territories.
They can be found in central Alberta and Manitoba in Canada and from North Dakota to Kansas in the United States. These squirrels hibernate from August to April.
They are diurnal animals, and their burrows usually host only one or two squirrels, as they are not a particularly social species.
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 sides of reddish-brown 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 up to 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.
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 measures from 1.05 to 1.60 m and weigh from 12 to 79.4 kg.
Gray wolves are carnivores eating a wide variety of meat. Gray wolves will eat deer, beavers, boar, mountain goats, bison, elk, moose, birds, fish, rodents, and hares.
They live in a great variety of habitats, which include mountains, grasslands, forests, tundra, and deserts.
Their lifespan is six to thirteen years in the wild and seventeen years in captivity.
The hoary bat is a nocturnal vesper bat found in parts of North America and Hawaii, where they are a native mammal.
They use echolocation for flying at night and to find food. Their color is dark brown, but the hairs have a white tip.
They measure from 13 to 15 cm, with a wingspan measuring 40 cm, and a weight of just 20 to 35 g. The hoary bat is the largest species in Canada.
This species of bat insectivore eats moths, but also other insects like beetles, crickets, flies, and bugs. Some of the insects it hunts are considered pests.
These bats usually roost solitarily on trees, hidden by foliage. They live in coniferous forests and generally hunt over open areas or lake. They have a very long migratory pattern. Their lifespan is about two years.
The house mouse is a secretive and cautious mouse that is sometimes domesticated.
Their color is gray, black or brown with a lighter underbody. They measure from 7.5 to 10 cm (including the tail) and weigh from 40 to 45g.
The house mouse is an omnivore eating meat, fruits, seeds, and grains. They tend to live in places where humans live.
Their lifespan is less than one year in the wild but can be between 2 to 3 years in protected environments.
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 and New Mexico, and up to 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 between black, reddish, brown and tan.
Their main diet is seeds with conifer-seeds being their favorite. The least chipmunk will also eat leaves, flowers, insects, carrion and bird eggs.
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 tail 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 color of the pelage of least weasels varies according to the geographical location, but underparts are usually white, and the back, limbs, and tail are a shade of 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.
Little Brown Bat
The little brown bat is a small North American bat. Their colors vary from light tan to dark brown, with a lighter color on its underbody.
The little brown bat measures from 8 to 9.5 cm and weighs from 5.5 to 12.5g.
This insectivore eats mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. The little brown bats live in most of North America.
They will find any place to roost during the day, such as trees, caves, and rocks. In winter, this bat hibernates in caves. Their lifespan is from 6 to 7 years.
The long-tailed weasel is a fearless, aggressive hunter. They are also known as the bridled weasel or the big stoat.
Their color is reddish-brown with a light yellow underbody, but in cold northern regions they are completely white.
The long-tailed weasel measures from 23 to 35 cm and weighs from 85 to 267 g. They are carnivores and can attack animals that are twice their size.
They eat mostly mice, voles, rabbits, chipmunks, birds, eggs, and insects.
They live in grasslands and thin forests in sub-tropical areas with mild temperatures in the southern states of North America. Their lifespan is up to five years.
The masked shrew, also known as the cinereus shrew and common shrew, is a small, nocturnal, and solitary animal.
Their color is grayish-brown with a lighter grayish color on the underbody. They measure just 9 cm, with a weight of 5g.
Masked shrews are carnivores eating insect larvae, ants, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, worms, snails, small rodents, and salamanders.
They live in grasslands, forests, riverbanks, lakeshores, and tundra in the northern part of North America. Their lifespan is 14 months.
Meadow Jumping Mouse
The meadow jumping mouse is a solitary and mostly nocturnal North American rodent. They can jump 8 feet or more when they are disturbed.
Their color is light brown, with a thick dark brown stripe on its back and a white underbody. They are a small-sized rodent with very long tails and feet. They measure from 18 to 24 cm (including the tail) and weigh from 11.5 to 35 g.
The meadow jumping mouse is an omnivore eating mostly seeds, insects, and fruits.
The meadow jumping mouse lives mostly in grasslands, thin forests and humid areas in the northern part of North America.
Their lifespan is less than a year in the wild, but up to five years in captivity.
The meadow vole is a small, mostly nocturnal rodent. They are also known as other names such as the field mouse or meadow mouse.
Their colors vary from yellowish or reddish-brown to dark brown, and the underbody is gray. They measure about 12 cm and weigh about 43g.
This herbivore eats grasses, weeds, grains, seeds, bark, roots, and fruits. They live in dense grasslands and thin forests in the northern part of North America (except for the most intense polar regions).
The meadow vole is an excellent swimmer and are also good at digging holes.
Their lifespan ranges from 2 to 16 months. Some people consider them a pest because they cause great damage to plants, and also carry similar diseases as other rodents.
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 from 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 lives in forests in the northern part of the entire world, and have a lifespan from fifteen to twenty five years.
The muskrat is a midsize, mostly 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 from 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 as a pest because of the destruction it causes in the places where they live and the diseases that they can carry.
North American Least Shrew
The least shrew is from the eastern United States and southeastern Mexico.
Their color varies from gray to brown with a lighter color on the underbody. They measure from 7 to 9 cm and weigh from 4 to 7g.
The least shrew eats carcasses, seeds, fruits, and insects, and live in grasslands with forest edges. Their lifespan is one year in the wild and 2.6 years in captivity.
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 all its 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.
Northern Bog Lemming
The Northern bog lemming is a small-sized lemming found in the meadows of Canada, Alaska, northern Washington, and New England.
They grow up to 13 cm long and weigh around 30 grams. They have a short tail and small eyes, with rust-colored hairs at the base of their ears.
Generally, their bodies are covered with grey or brown fur. These rodents are active during the entire year and are both diurnal and nocturnal.
They usually come up to the surface to look for food. They typically live in small colonies with other lemmings.
Northern Flying Squirrel
The Northern flying squirrel is one of three flying squirrels in North America.
Their habitat is coniferous and mixed coniferous forests. They live in Canada, and the United States from Alaska to Nova Scotia, North Carolina, Utah and Oregon.
They are clumsy on the ground but efficient climbers and gliders. They have a furry membrane between their front and hind legs which they use to glide from tree to tree. Flying squirrels are nocturnal with excellent vision.
Their length reaches between 25 to 37 centimeters, and they usually weigh between 110 and 230 grams.
Their color varies from gray to dark brown, with white on its underbody and a flat tail and big eyes. They also have large whiskers which they use to sense their way around at night.
This omnivore eats nuts, acorns, fruits, buds, fungi, insects, bird eggs, and lichens. The Northern flying squirrel lives in forests in the northern part of the continent with a lifespan of four years.
Northern Grasshopper Mouse
The Northern grasshopper mouse is the largest of the three species of grasshopper mouse in North America.
They have a weight up to 49g and a total length of 190mm including a tail up to 62mm.
The Northern grasshopper mouse has long fingers and claws which they use to grab their prey. They are insectivores and carnivores and will use their long fingers to help eat grasshoppers and beetles.
They also have a distinctive vocalization that sounds like a howl. This sound can be picked up by humans. The sound is used to convey information such as size, sex and location to other grasshopper mice.
Northern Long-eared Myotis
The Northern long-eared myotis is a species of bat. They use echolocation to navigate while flying.
Their color varies from yellowish light brown to black, and measure about 8.6 cm and weigh from 5 to 8 g.
This insectivore eats mostly moths, beetles, flies, and leafhoppers. They live in boreal forests (taiga) in the eastern, central part of North America. Their lifespan is about 18.5 years.
They are an endangered species due to a sickness that is killing the species.
Northern Pocket Gopher
The Northern pocket gopher weighs between 60 to 160 grams and measures between 165 to 260 mm in length.
The Northern pocket gopher is rarely seen above ground and usually does not travel far from the entrance of its burrow.
Their fur is gray to brown with dark spots on the ears. Although not classed as an endangered species, many farmers contribute to the eradication of gophers with poison or traps because of the gophers destructive effect on agriculture.
Northern River Otter
The river otter is a smart, semiaquatic mammal found in the northern states.
The river otter has short, very dense fur. Their colors vary from gray to brown, with a lighter underbody.
They measure from 66 to 107 cm and weighs from 5 to 14 kg.
River otters are carnivores eating fish, turtles, frogs, crayfish, and insects.
They live in aquatic habitats in the northern part of North America. Their lifespan is eight to nine years in the wild and fifteen to twenty years in captivity.
Northern Short-tailed Shrew
The Northern short-tailed shrew is a mammal found in the northern parts of North America.
Their color is dark gray, with a lighter shade of gray on the underbody. They measure from 11 to 14 cm and weigh from 15 to 30 g.
The Northern short-tailed shrew is a carnivore eating insects, salamanders, worms, mice, snails, seeds, voles, and fungi.
They can live in many habitats, including grasslands and deciduous and coniferous forests, with an expected lifespan of 1 to 3 years.
Plains Pocket Gopher
The Plains pocket gopher usually measures around 25-35 centimeters and weighs between 128 to 470 grams.
The Plains pocket gophers are found along the Great North American Plains.
Plain’s pocket gophers can run backward at the same speed they can run forward which is very unusual for any animal.
Their diet is mainly vegetarian, eating roots and grass, and sometimes nuts. Plains pocket gophers are becoming rare due to the disappearance of their habitat.
Plains Pocket Mouse
The Plains pocket mouse is a small-sized species. Half of their length is made up by their long tail.
Their tail can reach up to 13 cm, and they have an average total body length of 26cm. The weight of these mice is around 13 grams.
The Plains pocket mouse can be found in North Dakota, northern Texas, Utah, southwestern Minnesota, Colorado and the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Their habitat is usually characterized by sandy soil. Plains Pocket Mice are fairly common animals.
The prairie vole is grayish-black with brownish tips to the fur. Their underbelly is lighter and generally white or cinnamon colored.
Male and female prairie voles are about the same size with a weight up to 48g and a total length of 170mm including a tail of 40mm.
Prairie voles are one of the species that practices monogamy.
Their diet consists of plant material including leaves, seeds and stems, although they will also eat insects.
They live in tunnels underground consisting of many runways. Entrances have a layer of grass to disguise them.
The raccoon is a nocturnal midsize mammal. Their color is gray, brown or black. They have a white face with a black mask around its eyes.
They measure from 40 to 70 cm and weigh from 5 to 26 kg.
The raccoon is an opportunistic omnivore eating fruit, plants, oak nuts, insects, worms, rodents frogs, nuts, eggs, and crayfish.
Raccoons live in forests, suburban, and urban areas in the Central and southern states of North America. The average lifespan of a raccoon is two to three years.
The red fox is a midsize fox that lives in the northern region of North America.
The color varies from light yellow to red, with dark legs, and a white underbody. They measure from 45 to 90 cm and weigh from 2.2 to 14 kg. Their lifespan is between two to five years.
The red fox is an omnivore eating grasses, fruits, corn, apples, oak nuts, cherries, berries, mice, birds, rabbits, squirrels, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and crayfish.
The red fox lives in forests, grasslands, mountains, deserts, and suburban areas.
Richardson’s Ground Squirrel
Richardson’s Ground Squirrel is also known as the Dakota or Flickertail squirrel. They are a species of ground squirrel native to North America.
The name comes from the Scottish naturalist Sir John Richardson.
These squirrels commonly inhabit short grass prairies and are mainly found in the northern regions of the United States, including North Dakota and Montana. They can also be found in Canada, in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Richardson’s squirrels usually live in short grass prairies but have adapted to suburban environments.
Richardson’s Ground Squirrels are about 30 cm long in body length, and males generally weigh around 350 to 450 grams while females are lighter, with a body mass spanning between 200 and 275 grams.
These squirrels are sociable and organize their social structure around female kinship.
The rock vole is mostly found in the eastern parts of Canada and the northeastern regions of the United States.
Rock voles are are medium-sized rodents and are also known as yellow-nosed voles.
Their average length ranges between 12 and 15 cm, and they usually weigh about 39 grams.
As with all the other voles they are rarely seen and mainly feed on moss and grass, although sometimes eat berries or insects.
The silver-haired bat is a nocturnal, solitary mammal from the central part of North America. They use echolocation when flying to guide them and to find food.
Their color is normally black, but can sometimes be dark brown, with gray tips to their fur.
They measure about 10 cm and weighs from 8 to 12 g. This insectivore eats flies, leafhoppers, moths, mosquitoes, beetles, bugs and ants, which they find in forest habitats.
Their average lifespan is 12 years, and they migrate to warmer climates in winter.
The snowshoe hare is also called the varying hare or snowshoe rabbit, taking this the name because of the large size of the hind feet.
They are a hare from the northern region of North America.
The snowshoehare lives in boreal and montane forests of North America.
They have wide paws for moving in the snow. Their feet prevent these rabbits from sinking in the snow when hopping and walking. They are covered with fur on the soles too, for protection against freezing temperature.
Their color is brown in summer and white in winter but always has a gray underbody. They can be distinguished by black tufts of hair on the edge of their ears and by the relatively small size of their ears compared with other hares.
Their lifespan is five years. They usually measure about 36 to 52 centimeters and can weigh 1.3 to 1.7 kilograms as adults.
The snowshoe hare is a herbivore and eats grass, leaves, ferns, buds, twigs, evergreen needles, small stems, and bark. They adapt their diet according to the season. They usually feed on grass, fens, and leaves during the summer and turn to twigs and bark in the wintertime.
Southern Bog Lemming
The Southern bog lemming is a small mammal from eastern regions of North America.
Their color varies from red to dark brown, and light gray on the underbody.
They measure about 13 cm long and weigh about 35 g.
The Southern bog lemming eats plants, seeds, stems, and leaves. They live in grasslands, moist areas, deciduous and coniferous forests, wetlands, and marshes. Their lifespan is 29 months.
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 from 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.
They live in deciduous forests, with a lifespan of five to six years in the wild and ten years in captivity.
Southern Red-backed Vole
The southern red-backed vole is a mostly nocturnal, small mammal from the central region of North America.
Their main color is gray and they have a red stripe on their back, with an underbody of gray or white.
They measure from 7 to 11.2 cm and weigh from 6 to 42g.
The Southern red-backed vole is an omnivore eating insects, grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, leaves, roots, bark, fungi, and lichens.
They live in coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests near water bodies in southern Canada and the northern United States, with a short lifespan of just 10 to 20 months.
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 from 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. By using their star-nose, they are able to gather a clear image of their surroundings.
The striped skunk is a mostly nocturnal species of skunk found in the central states of North America.
Their color can be black, gray, or brown but always has a white stripe on their back running from head to tail.
They measure from 52 to 77 cm and weigh between 1.8 to 4.5 kg. Striped skunks are omnivores and eat crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, mice, voles, eggs, and small birds.
The striped skunk lives in open areas such as grasslands or thin forests in southern Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico. Their lifespan is up to seven years.
Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel
The thirteen-lined ground squirrel, also known as the striped gopher, leopard ground squirrel or squinny is a species of rodent that inhabits grasslands and prairies of North America.
The name comes from the thirteen lines (sometimes broken into spots) alternating white and brown on the back and sides of these squirrels.
They usually measure about 170 to 297 mm in body length and weigh approximately 110 to 270 grams. Thirteen lined squirrels are diurnal and are especially active on warm days.
They are solitary and feed on grass, weed, seeds and insects. These include caterpillars, grasshoppers, and crickets. They will also feed on mice and shrews, although this is rare.
The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. Their habitats can vary and 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 rather 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.
Western Harvest Mouse
The Western harvest mouse can be found in many habitats in North America including meadows, valleys, marshes and prairies. They can also live in sand dunes, deserts, shrublands, and clearings in forests.
The nest can be found under logs, bushes, weeds and grasses. Nests consist of a construction shaped like a sphere with one entrance.
Their diet consists of flowers, seeds, herbs and insects such as weevils, moth larvae and beetles. The Western harvest mouse does not hibernate but does put on body fat to get them through the colder winter conditions where they enter a state of torpor.
The Western harvest mouse is not territorial and many can live in one nest. This helps them to keep their body temperatures steady in winter.
The Western harvest mouse grown up to 140 mm long with a weight up to 15g.
The white-footed mouse is a timid, nocturnal mammal that lives in eastern regions of North America.
Their color is reddish-brown, with a dark, broad mark on its back and a white underbody.
The white-footed mouse measures from 9 to 10 cm (without the tail) and weighs from 20 to 30g.
They are omnivores eating seeds, nuts, grain, insects, fungi, and fruit. They live in warm, dry forests and semi-desert areas. Their lifespan is one year in the wild.
The white-tailed deer is a mammal found in the central part of the American continent. In North America, they live in most of Mexico and the United States and southern parts of Canada.
Their color is grayish-brown in the winter and reddish-brown in the summer. They have patches of white on their face, underbody, and tail.
The white-tailed deer measures from 95 to 220 cm and weighs from 45 to 68 kg.
White-tailed deer are hebivores eating grass, corn, leaves, nuts, twigs, fruits, and fungi.
They adapt well to different habitats and live in grasslands, forests, farmlands, and deserts. Their lifespan is four to five years.
The white-tailed jackrabbit is also known as the prairie hare or white jack, and can be mainly found in the north, western regions of North America.
They are also found in British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta in Canada.
The dimensions of this species range between 56 to 65 centimeters in length, while their weight can span between 2.5 to 4.3 kilograms.
They are solitary rabbits that live in depressions in the ground hidden by vegetation.
The white-tailed jackrabbit is nocturnal and only emerge from their nests at dusk to feed. In contrast to the black-tailed jackrabbit, the white-tailed jackrabbit prefers lowland habitats.
The wolverine resembles a small bear, but is the largest member of the Mustelidae family.
They are ferocious, and have a huge amount of strength for their body size. They are the size of 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 that they use to mark their territory.
The woodchuck, also known as the groundhog or the red monk, is typical of the eastern regions of the United States, Canada, and Alaska.
Males are usually bigger than females, but their weight changes considerably across different seasons. Generally, they measure 42 to 68.5 cm, although their weight ranges during the year from 2 to 6.5 kilos.
They are a diurnal animal that on average lives two to three years. They enjoy staying in the open air, and they are very territorial animals that live in colonies.
Woodland Jumping Mouse
The woodland jumping mouse is a small, solitary, and usually nocturnal midsize rodent found in eastern North America.
Their color varies from yellowish-brown on the sides to dark brown on their back. They have an underbody that is white.
They measure from 20.5 to 25.6 cm and weigh from 17 to 26 g.
They can jump as high as 3 meters (or 9.8 feet) by leveraging their strong feet and long tail. They prefer a quadrupedal walk to move around.
They prefer forested habitats. The fur of the woodland jumping mouse has several shades of brown along with white feet.
The woodland jumping mouse is an omnivore and eats grass, fruits, berries, fungi, seeds, and insects. They live in forests in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada with a four year lifespan.
The woodland vole is a mammal that lives in the eastern regions of the United States.
Their color is light or dark brown, with a white or gray underbody. They measure from 83 to 121 cm and weigh from 14 to 37 g.
The woodland vole is a herbivore and eats roots, nuts, seeds, and leaves. They live in deciduous forests and have a very short lifespan of three months.
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.