Field Guide

Mammals

Showing 1 - 10 of 21 results
Media
Photograph of a muskrat standing on grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ondatra zibethicus
Description
The common muskrat is one of the most abundant commercial furbearers in Missouri. This semiaquatic rodent has benefited from the construction of thousands of farm ponds throughout the state.
Media
Nutria in wetland habitat
Species Types
Scientific Name
Myocastor coypus
Description
Nutria are large aquatic rodents native to South America. They were brought to the U.S. for the fur market. In Missouri, nutria are sometimes trapped in the southeastern part of the state.
Media
Image of woodchuck (groundhog)
Species Types
Scientific Name
Marmota monax
Description
One of the best-known wild mammals in Missouri, the woodchuck, or groundhog, is a rodent in the squirrel family. The name “woodchuck” is possibly derived from an Indian name for this species.
Media
Photo of a beaver half in water
Species Types
Scientific Name
Castor canadensis
Description
The American beaver is a semiaquatic rodent distinguished by its large size, webbed hind feet, and large, horizontally flattened tail covered with leathery scales.
Media
Image of a swamp rabbit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sylvilagus aquaticus
Description
Larger and yellower than the eastern cottontail, the swamp rabbit is confined to swamps of Missouri’s Bootheel. As a wetland dweller, it’s a good swimmer and diver, but lack of swamp habitat is making this rabbit’s numbers decline.
Media
Image of eastern cottontail
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sylvilagus floridanus
Description
The eastern cottontail is a rabbit with a perfect name. Its tail, when raised, has a conspicuously white undersurface, resembling a fluff of cotton.
Media
Photo of a gray fox
Species Types
Scientific Name
Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Description
There are two species of foxes in Missouri. The gray fox is more likely to be seen in the southern half of the state, climbs trees readily and is less desired by both fox hunters and fur trappers.
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
photo of a thirteen-lined ground squirrel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictidomys tridecemlineatus
Description
The thirteen-lined ground squirrel has 13 alternating brown and whitish lines (some may be broken into spots) along its back and sides, creating rows of whitish spots within dark lines. It stands upright to survey its surroundings and dives into its burrow when it senses danger.
Media
Image of a gray squirrel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sciurus carolinensis and Sciurus niger
Description
The eastern gray squirrel and eastern fox squirrel are both very common in Missouri. Their names describe their general coat color: the first is grayish, the other a foxy red.
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.