Field Guide

Mammals

Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results
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
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
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
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.
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
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 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
Photo of two prairie voles in a nest made of dried grasses
Species Types
Scientific Name
Microtus ochrogaster, M. pinetorum, and M. pennsylvanicus
Description
There are three species of voles in Missouri: prairie, meadow, and woodland voles. These mouselike rodents have rounded, blunt snouts, chisel-shaped front teeth, and short tails.
Media
Photo of white tailed buck
Species Types
Scientific Name
Odocoileus virginianus
Description
In summer, white-tailed deer are reddish-brown to tan above; in winter, they are grayish. The throat and belly are white. This common Missouri deer is named for the bright white of its flaglike tail.
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.