Field Guide

Mammals

Showing 1 - 10 of 28 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 mountain lion
Species Types
Scientific Name
Puma concolor
Description
Mountain lions hadn't been seen in Missouri since 1927 — but in 1994, conclusive physical evidence proved they are reappearing in our state. These animals probably are individuals dispersing from other states, and no breeding population seems to have been reestablished.
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 mink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neogale 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
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 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 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.
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.