Minnesota Mammals

 
Class Mammalia
 

Mammalia (mammals) 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
     
Least chipmunk
     

Least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus) is the most widespread and also the smallest of the North American chipmunks. In Canada it occurs from Ontario to Yukon Territory. In the United States it occurs west of the Great Plains and in the upper Great Lakes region. In Minnesota it occurs in the Arrowhead and north-central regions. It is found at the edges and in the openings, clearcuts, and disturbed areas of coniferous and mixed forests. It eats seeds, nuts, fruits, acorns, snails, insect eggs and larvae, and small birds and mammals. It nests under stumps, logs, and rocks. It winters in a burrow it digs that reaches up to one meter underground. When running it holds its tail erect.

The adult is 7¼ to 8¾ long. It weighs about half as much as an eastern chipmunk. The coat (pelage) on the sides is reddish-brown in the front, grayish brown in the rear. The rump is grayish-brown. There are five dark brown or black stripes on the back separated by white or cream-colored stripes. The middle stripe stretches from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. On each side of the face there are three dark brown stripes separated by two white or cream-colored stripes. The facial stripes are well defined and highly visible. The tail is orangish-brown, and bushy.

  least chipmunk
  Photo by Ramona Abrego
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
     
Franklin’s ground squirrel
     

Franklin’s ground squirrel (Poliocitellus franklinii) is a medium-sized squirrel but a large ground squirrel. It is the largest and darkest ground squirrel in its range. It occurs in the tallgrass prairie region in the United States and Canada. It is considered scarce in Minnesota. It is found in areas with tall vegetation including edges of fields and prairies, open woodlands, and edges of marshes.

Franklin’s ground squirrel is superficially similar in appearance to an eastern gray squirrel but it is smaller and has a shorter, less bushy tail, shorter ears, and a more pointed snout. The coat (pelage) is short and dark gray with pale and dark flecks and a brown wash over the back and rump.

Franklin’s ground squirrel spends most of its time in an underground burrow that can be up to 8 feet deep. It is tolerant of humans and can be seen at camp sights, in state parks, and at dumps. It is omnivorous, feeding on plants, ground nesting bird eggs, insects, and small animals, including other ground squirrels.

  Franklin’s ground squirrel
  Photo by Lynn Rubey
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
     
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
   
   
   
   
     
Other Recent Additions
     

northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)

Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)

American marten (Martes americana)

fisher (Martes pennanti)

  white-footed mouse
    Photo by Bill Reynolds

 

 

 

             

This list includes only mammals that have been recorded in Minnesota, but not all of the mammals found in Minnesota.

             
Profile Photo Video        
           

American badger

American beaver

American bison

American black bear

American red squirrel

Canada lynx

coyote

eastern chipmunk

eastern cottontail

eastern gray squirrel

eastern fox squirrel

eastern red bat

fisher

Franklin’s ground squirrel

meadow vole

moose

muskrat

North American porcupine

northern raccoon

northern river otter

northern short-tailed shrew

plains pocket gopher

prairie deer mouse

red fox

southern red-backed vole

thirteen-lined ground squirrel

whitetail deer

woodchuck

Profile Photo Video  

American badger (Taxidea taxus)

 
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American beaver (Castor canadensis)

 
  Photo Video  

American bison (Bison bison)

 
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American black bear (Ursus americanus)

 
  Photo Video  

American marten (Martes americana)

 
  Photo Video  

American mink (Neovison vison)

 
       

American pygmy shrew (Sorex hoyi)

 
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American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

 
       

American water shrew (Sorex palustris)

 
       

arctic shrew (Sorex arcticus)

 
       

big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

 
  Photo Video  

bobcat (Lynx rufus)

 
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Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

 
  Photo Video  

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 Video  

eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis)

 
    Video  

eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius)

 
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elk (Cervus canadensis)

 
       

ermine (Mustela erminea)

 
  Photo Video  

fisher (Martes pennanti)

 
Profile Photo Video  

Franklin’s ground squirrel (Poliocitellus franklinii)

 
  Photo Video  

gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

 
  Photo Video  

gray wolf (Canis lupus)

 
       

hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus)

 
       

house mouse (Mus musculus)

 
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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 Video  

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)

 
  Photo Video  

North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)

 
       

northern bog lemming (Synaptomys borealis)

 
Profile Photo Video  

northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)

 
       

northern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys leucogaster)

 
       

northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)

 
       

northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides)

 
  Photo Video  

northern raccoon (Procyon lotor)

 
  Photo Video  

northern river otter (Lontra canadensis)

 
Profile Photo Video  

northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda)

 
       

Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)

 
Profile Photo Video  

plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius)

 
       

plains pocket mouse (Perognathus flavescens)

 
Profile Photo Video  

prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii)

 
       

prairie shrew (Sorex haydeni)

 
Profile   Video  

prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster)

 
  Photo Video  

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 Video  

southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi)

 
    Video  

star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata)

 
Profile   Video  

striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

 
Profile Photo Video  

thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus)

 
       

tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

 
  Photo Video  

Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)

 
       

western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis)

 
  Photo Video  

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

 
Profile Photo Video  

white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)

 
    Video  

white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii)

 
  Photo Video  

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.

 

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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.

 

Capitalization of Common Names

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

 

 

 

 

 


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