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).

The number of recognized, still living (extant), mammal species worldwide has grown significantly in the last two decades. Mammal Species of the World published a database in 2005 listing 5,416 mammal species, of which one is extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 2024 lists 5,980 mammal species.

The American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) performed a review of taxonomic changes published since 2004 and compiled a comprehensive list of mammal species. The results were published in 2018 as the Mammal Diversity Database. The database listed 6,495 total species, of which 6,399 are extant and 96 were recently extinct. The current version of the Mammal Diversity Database, v1.12.1, released January 30, 2024, lists 6,718 mammal species in 1,351 genera in 167 families in 27 orders worldwide. Of those, 6,611 species are extant and 107 are recently extinct.

There are 474 mammal species in 166 genera in 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.

  least chipmunk

Photo by Ramona Abrego

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.

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

Photo by Lynn Rubey

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.

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.

  American badger

Photo by Wayne Rasmussen

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.

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.

  northern short-tailed shrew

Photo by Bill Reynolds

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.

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

snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus)

tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)

Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

snowshoe hare

Photo by Sheila Belland





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


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American badger (Taxidea taxus)

American badger

American beaver

American bison

American black bear

American red squirrel

big brown bat

Canada lynx

common raccoon


eastern chipmunk

eastern cottontail

eastern gray squirrel

eastern red bat


eastern fox squirrel

Franklin’s ground squirrel

meadow vole



North American porcupine

northern river otter

northern short-tailed shrew

plains pocket gopher

prairie deer mouse

red fox

snowshoe hare

southern red-backed vole

thirteen-lined ground squirrel

tri-colored bat

whitetail deer


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American beaver (Castor canadensis)

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American bison (Bison bison)

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American black bear (Ursus americanus)

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American marten (Martes americana)

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American mink (Neogale vison)


American pygmy shrew (Sorex hoyi)

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American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)


American water shrew (Sorex palustris)


arctic shrew (Sorex arcticus)

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big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

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bobcat (Lynx rufus)

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Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

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common raccoon (Procyon lotor)

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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 gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)


eastern heather vole (Phenacomys ungava)


eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus)

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eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis)


eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius)


elk (Cervus canadensis)


ermine (Mustela erminea)

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fisher (Pekania pennanti)

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fox squirrel (Sciurus niger)

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Franklin’s ground squirrel (Poliocitellus 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)

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least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus)


least weasel (Mustela nivalis)


little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)


long-tailed weasel (Neogale frenata)


masked shrew (Sorex cinereus)


meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius)

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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)

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northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)


northern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys leucogaster)


northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)


northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides)

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northern river otter (Lontra canadensis)

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northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda)


Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)

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plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius)


plains pocket mouse (Perognathus flavescens)

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prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii)


prairie shrew (Sorex haydeni)

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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)

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southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi)

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star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata)

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striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

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thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus)

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tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

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Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)


western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis)


western meadow vole (Microtus drummondii)

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white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)

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whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)


white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii)

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woodchuck (Marmota monax)


woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou)


woodland deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus gracilis)


woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis)


woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum)

















Alces americanus (moose)

Bison bison (American bison)

Blarina brevicauda (northern short-tailed shrew)

Canis latrans (coyote)

Canis lupus (gray wolf)

Castor canadensis (American beaver)

Cervus canadensis (elk)

Condylura cristata (star-nosed mole)

Cryptotis parva (North American least shrew)

Didelphis virginiana (Virginia opossum)

Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bat)

Erethizon dorsatum (North American porcupine)

Geomys bursarius (plains pocket gopher)

Glaucomys sabrinus (northern flying squirrel)

Glaucomys volans (southern flying squirrel)

Ictidomys tridecemlineatus (thirteen-lined ground squirrel)

Lasionycteris noctivagans (silver-haired bat)

Lasiurus borealis (eastern red bat)

Lasiurus cinereus (hoary bat)

Lepus americanus (snowshoe hare)

Lepus townsendii (white-tailed jackrabbit)

Lontra canadensis (northern river otter)

Lynx canadensis (Canada lynx)

Lynx rufus (bobcat)

Marmota monax (woodchuck)

Martes americana (American marten)

Mephitis mephitis (striped skunk)

Microtus chrotorrhinus (rock vole)

Microtus drummondii (western meadow vole)

Microtus ochrogaster (prairie vole)

Microtus pennsylvanicus (meadow vole)

Microtus pinetorum (woodland vole)

Mus musculus (house mouse)

Mustela erminea (ermine)

Mustela nivalis (least weasel)

Myodes gapperi (southern red-backed vole)

Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat)

Myotis septentrionalis (northern myotis)

Napaeozapus insignis (woodland jumping mouse)

Neogale frenata (long-tailed weasel)

Neogale vison (American mink)

Neotamias minimus (least chipmunk)

Odocoileus virginianus (whitetail deer)

Ondatra zibethicus (muskrat)

Onychomys leucogaster (northern grasshopper mouse)

Pekania pennanti (fisher)

Perimyotis subflavus (tri-colored bat)

Perognathus flavescens (plains pocket mouse)

Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mouse)

Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii (prairie deer mouse)

Peromyscus maniculatus gracilis (woodland deer mouse)

Phenacomys ungava (eastern heather vole)

Poliocitellus franklinii (Franklin’s ground squirrel)

Procyon lotor (common raccoon)

Puma concolor (mountain lion)

Rangifer tarandus caribou (woodland caribou)

Rattus norvegicus (Norway rat)

Reithrodontomys megalotis (western harvest mouse)

Scalopus aquaticus (eastern mole)

Sciurus carolinensis (eastern gray squirrel)

Sciurus niger (fox squirrel)

Sorex arcticus (arctic shrew)

Sorex cinereus (masked shrew)

Sorex fumeus (smoky shrew)

Sorex haydeni (prairie shrew)

Sorex hoyi (American pygmy shrew)

Sorex palustris (American water shrew)

Spermophilus richardsonii (Richardson’s ground squirrel)

Spilogale putorius (eastern spotted skunk)

Sylvilagus floridanus (eastern cottontail)

Synaptomys borealis (northern bog lemming)

Synaptomys cooperi (southern bog lemming)

Tamias striatus (eastern chipmunk)

Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (American red squirrel)

Taxidea taxus (American badger)

Thomomys talpoides (northern pocket gopher)

Urocyon cinereoargenteus (gray fox)

Ursus americanus (American black bear)

Vulpes vulpes (red fox)

Zapus hudsonius (meadow jumping mouse)



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 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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Capitalization of Common Names

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



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