Field Guide

Mammals

Showing 1 - 10 of 21 results
Media
Image of a spotted skunk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spilogale interrupta (formerly Spilogale putorius interrupta)
Description
Of the two species of skunks in Missouri, the spotted skunk is smaller, less common, and lesser known. It has been declining drastically in recent years because of habitat loss.
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. The striped skunk is the most commonly encountered skunk in our state.
Media
coyote walking through grassland
Species Types
Scientific Name
Canis latrans
Description
The coyote is a much-maligned member of the dog family. It does a great service to the ecosystem by helping to hold populations of rabbits and mice in check. In addition, their yips and barks add to nature's music to rural nights.
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
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. They hibernate in burrows from late October to sometime in February.
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
Photo of bobcat
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lynx rufus
Description
The bobcat is a short-tailed wild cat with a distinctive streaked and spotted pattern, a wide face, and pointy ears often with black tufts.
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 red fox
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vulpes vulpes
Description
The red fox is doglike, with a long, pointed muzzle; large, pointed ears that are usually held erect and forward; moderately long legs; and a long, bushy tail. It occurs statewide but is more common in the northern and western sections of Missouri.
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.
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.