Field Guide

Mammals

Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results
Media
Image of mink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neovison vison
Description
The American mink is a semiaquatic predator and a member of the weasel family. It is famous for its durable, soft, valuable fur.
Media
Collared, grayish-tan wolf in open field
Species Types
Scientific Name
Canis lupus
Description
The gray wolf originally ranged throughout Missouri, but with settlement the species was gradually exterminated. While there is no evidence of a breeding population in the state, wolves are listed as a protected species in Missouri, and they occasionally wander into Missouri from northern states.
Media
Photo of least weasel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mustela nivalis
Description
This mouse-sized weasel is found only in Missouri’s northern counties, and abundance varies locally and seasonally, depending on fluctuating rodent numbers—their favorite food.
Media
Photo of long-tailed weasel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mustela frenata
Description
Long-tailed weasels are small but voracious predators. They are rare in our state but are most common in the south-central and southwestern portions. In summer, they are brown with yellow beneath. In winter their fur is paler or white. The tail has a black tip.
Media
photo of river otter
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lontra canadensis
Description
The North American river otter was once nearly eliminated in Missouri, but thanks to restoration efforts, these powerful swimmers are once again found throughout most of the state.
Media
Raccoon in tree
Species Types
Scientific Name
Procyon lotor
Description
When you see the black mask and striped tail of this medium-sized mammal, you know you’ve spotted a raccoon. These nocturnal omnivores are clever and adaptive.
Media
Short-tailed shrew pointing its head upward
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sorex, Blarina, and Cryptotis spp.
Description
Six species of shrews occur in Missouri. They are mouselike but do not have the chisel-like front teeth of rodents. Instead, they have sharp, spiky teeth for hunting prey.
Media
Image of southern flying squirrel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Glaucomys volans
Description
Flying squirrels don’t actually fly, but they are expert hang gliders. Instead of running around on the ground, they climb to the top of a tall tree, launch into the air, glide downward to the bottom of another tree and repeat the process to get where they’re going.
Media
Photograph of a striped skunk walking
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mephitis mephitis
Description
Skunks are omnivorous mammals notorious for their ability to discharge an obnoxious scent when provoked, and the striped skunk is the most commonly encountered skunk in our state.
Media
Opossum in snow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Didelphis virginiana
Description
The Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial. Its life history, biology, and habits make this nocturnal mammal worthy of appreciation. What other mammal in our state can hang by its tail, play dead, and carry its young in a pouch?
See Also

About Mammals in Missouri

More than 70 species of wild mammals live in Missouri: opossums; shrews and moles; bats; rabbits; woodchuck, squirrels, beaver, mice, voles, and other rodents; coyote, foxes, bear, raccoon, weasels, otter, mink, skunks, bobcat, and other carnivores; deer and elk; and more. Most of us recognize mammals easily — they have fur, are warm-blooded, nurse their young, and breathe air.