Mammals of New York

ORDER/Family Common name Species Name Status Distribution ASM Slide Library* Mammalian Species # Comments
Didelphidae (Opossums) North American Opossum Didelphis virginiana common statewide 3, 4(W), 630, 828(B), 829(B), 830(B) 40 Most teeth of North American mammals (50), nocturnal, solitary, can be found near people's houses, omnivrous.
Soricidae (Shrews) Masked Shrew Sorex cinereus common statewide     Likes moist areas in fields, brushlands and forests.
  Water Shrew Sorex palustris common statewide   296 Lives in aquatic habitats, particularly in mountainous areas. Eats aquatic insects.
  Smoky Shrew Sorex fumeus spotty statewide   215 Prefers damp, shaded forests.
  Long-tailed Shrew Sorex dispar rare statewide, except L.I.   155 Generally found in rocky areas.
  Pygmy shrew Sorex hoyi rare N, W, NY 495 33 Makes burrows in loose soil.
  Northern Short-tailed Shrew Blarina brevicauda common statewide 20, 644(S) 261 Not habitat specific, very venomous saliva.
  Least Shrew Cryptotis parva spotty S, Cent. NY 957 43 Smallest North American mammal, likes fields and marshes.
Talpidae (Moles) Hairy-tailed Mole Parascalops breweri common statewide 646(S), 852 98 Likes drier soils; as name implies, has fur on tail.
  Eastern Mole Scalopus aquaticus common SE NY 647(C),648(S) 105 Problem in gardens but kills many insects.
  Star-nosed Mole Condylura cristata common statewide 649(C), 650 (B) 129 Likes wet soils, even eats aquatic insects.
CHIROPTERA (Bats)              
Vespertilionidae Little Brown Bat Myotis lucifugus common statewide 224, 225(G), 814(G) 142 Lives in hollow trees, buildings , caves and mines.
  Keen's Bat Myotis kenii common statewide 226 121 Resembles Little Brown in appearance and habits, silky fur.
  Indiana Bat Myotis sodalis endangered statewide 391 163 Grayish-brown; hibernates in huge, isolated colonies.
  Small-footed Bat Myotis leibii sp. concern statewide 226   Small feet, golden brown, black ears and face mask.
  Silver-haired Bat Lasionycteris noctivagans common statewide 658 172 Brown, silvery throat, neck and head. Likes conifers, water.
  Eastern Pipistrelle Pipistrellus subflavus common statewide 38, 654(C) 228 Reddish brown back, yellowish belly. Smallest NY bat.
  Big Brown Bat Eptisicus fuscus common statewide 39(C), 223 356 Large but not largest bat in NY. Eats largely beetles.
  Red Bat Lasiurus borealis common statewide 40, 650 (C), 815 183 Brick-red to buffy orange. Catch insects on electric lights.
  Hoary Bat Lasiurus cinereus common statewide 41, 42, 656 185 New York's largest bat. Eats a variety of insects.
LAGOMORPHA (Hares and Rabbits)              
Leporidae Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus common Not in NE 58, 953(Y) 136 Most often seen at dawn and dusk (crepuscular)
  New England Cottontail Sylvilagus transitionalis sp. concern E New York   55 Live in Northern forests
  Varying or Snowshoe Hare Lepus americanus common statewide 246, 544(P)   Varies color for seasons, large hind feet keep it on snow.
  European Hare Lepus capensis introduced Southern Tier, N of Adirondacks.     Introduced for hunting, could become a pest and damage crops.
Sciuridae (Squirrels) Eastern Chipmunk Tamias striatus common Statewide 110, 259(AB) 168 Can climb trees, may be seen for short periods in winter.
  Woodchuck Marmota monax common Statewide 107   Can climb trees, agricutural pests.
  Gray Squirrel Sciurus caroliniensis common Statewide 94,95P 480 Can be black or white (albino) or vary brown spots yearly.
  Fox Squirrel Sciurus niger common Long Island, SW tip of NY 96, 880 479 Numbers reduced due to hunting and habitat alteration.
  Red Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus common statewide 111, 260, 826, 827(H)   Prefer to feed on seeds in cones. Readily "scold" people.
  Southern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys volans common statewide 1021,1022(B) 78 Common but seldom seen because it is nocturnal.
  Northern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys sabrinus common statewide 1020 229 Similar toSouthern Flying Squirrel but larger.
Castoridae Beaver Castor canadensis common statewide 247(H), 248(H), 408, 409(H), 410(H), 1239 120 State Mammal. Beaver activity creates habitat for other species. Populations increasing.
Muridae (rats, mice, voles, lemmings) Deer Mouse Peromyscus maniculatus common statewide 74, 1175   Difficult to distinguish from white-footed mouse. The bottom of the tail is white, the overall color grayish.
  White-footed mouse Peromyscus leucopus common statewide 73, 251(A), 1174 247 Fur is reddish rather than grayish, top and bottom of tail usually the same color.
  Eastern Woodrat Neotoma floridana endangered Catskills and south 1016 139 Believed extirpated from state because of fatal infestation
  Southern Red-backed Vole Clethrionomys gapperi common statewide 69 146 Chestnut colored back on gray body. Climbs, runs, jumps and swims well.
  Meadow Vole Microtus pennsylvanicus common statewide 70 159 The common "field mouse." Usually brown, round face, short ears and short tail.
  Rock Vole Microtus chrotorrhinus common Adirondacks and Catskills 250(C) 180 As name implies, lives in rocky areas. Also called yellow-nosed vole.
  Woodland Vole Microtus pinetorum common not in ST. Lawrence Valley   147 Scattered throughout its range. Lives in leaf litter.
  Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus common statewide 1162, 1163(H) 141 Often confused with beaver. Smaller than beaver, long tail "snakes" behind the animal as it swims.
  Southern Bog Lemming Synaptomys cooperi common statewide 682 210 Like many other small rodents, it builds runways. These it litters with green droppings. Eats sedges and grasses.
  Northern Bog Lemming Synaptomys borealis common NE tip of Adirondacks     Takes an expert to differentiate it from Southern Bog Lemming. NY barely catches the southern edge of range.
  Black Rat Rattus rattus common, introduced statewide 759, 760(B)   Frequents buildings, does not require soil for burrowing.
  Norway Rat Rattus norvegicus common, introduced statewide 755(W), 756(B), 757(B), 758   Burrows, frequents cities, eats anything edible. Albino strain used in biological and medical laboratories.
  House Mouse Mus musculus common, introduced statewide F23 92, 754   Usually around buildings. Though generally detrimental, an albino strain is used in laboratories.
Zapodidae (Jumping Mice) Meadow Jumping Mouse Zapus hudsonicus common statewide   11 Can jump almost a meter, changing direction abruptly and remaining still to confuse predators.
  Woodland Jumping Mouse Napaeozapus insignis common statewide 113 14 Lives in coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests.
Erethizontidae (Porcupines) Porcupine Erethizon dorsatum common statewide 83, 870(Y) 29 Do not shoot their quills, drive them into tormentors with a flick of their tail. Cause damage by gnawing.
CETACEA (Whales and Dolphins)              
Delphinidae (Dolphins) Saddleback Dolphin Delphinus delphis common Off Long Is. 579   Swims in large groups, leaps, 8.5 ft...
  Spotted Dolphin Stenella frontalis common Off Long Is. 580   Prefers warmer waters, 7 ft..
  Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba common Off Long Is.     From Greenland to tropics, 8ft..
  Bottlenosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus common Off Long Is. 262,980, 981(G)   Commonest dolphin on East Coast, 12 ft..
  Grampus (Risso's) Dolphin Grampus griseus   Off Long Is. 1055(C)   Prefers deeper water, 13 ft..
  White-beaked Dolphin Lagenorhyncus albirostris common Off Long Is.     Often in Large Schools, 10 ft..
  Atlantic White-sided Dolphin Lagenorhyncus acutus common Off Long Is.     Smaller schools in Western Atlantic, 9 ft..
  Atlantic Pilot Whale Globicephala melanaena common Off Long Is. 929(B), 930(CA)   Also called "Blackfish," nocturnal, 28 ft..
  Killer Whale Orcinus orca common Off Long Is. 979 (B), 1057(C), 1058(A), 1133(S) 304 Easily trained. Gets its name because it kills more warm-blooded prey than other marine predators. Large groups kill baleen whales, 30 ft..
Phocoenidae (Porpoises) Harbor Porpoise Phocoena phocoena Sp. concern Off Long Is. 1130 42 Becomes entagled in fishing nets, 6 ft..
Monodontidae (Beluga) Beluga Delphinapterus leucas common Off Long Is. 263, 804(A) 336 Forms large groups in deep water, 14 ft..
Ziphidae (Beaked Whales) Goose-beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris common Off Long Is.     Summer resident,migrates south, 28 ft..
  True's Beaked Whale Mesoplodon mirus common Off Long Is.     Prefers deep water, 17 ft..
  Gervais Beaked Whale Mesoplodon europaeus common Off Long Is.     Northern edge of range in NY, 22 ft..
  Atlantic Beaked Whale Mesoplodon densirostris common Off Long Is.     Remain submerged a long time, 15 ft..
Physeteridae (Sperm Whales) Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps common Off Long Is. 1137(S), 1138(S)   Like larger sperm whale eats squid, 13 ft..
  Sperm Whale Physeter catodon endangered Off Long Is.     Fine lubricant made from oil, 60 ft..
Balaenopteridae (baleen whales) Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata common Off Long Is.     Smallest of baleen whales, fast, 30 ft..
  Sei Whale Balaenoptera borealis endangered Off Long Is. 577(B)   Also fast, prefers deep water, 50 ft..
  Fin(back) Whale Balaenoptera physalus endangered Off Long Is. 769(A)   Second largest whale, longer than 70 ft..
  Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus endangered Off Long Is. 578, 808(A), 1215(S), 1216(S)   Largest animal ever to have lived, 100 ft.
  Humpback Whale Megaptera novaengliae endangered Off Long Is. 575, 576 (B), 698(B), 768(AB)   Most active for whale watchers,50 ft..
Balaenidae Right Whale Eubalaena glacialis endangered Off Long Is.     Was considered "the right" whale to kill because it floated when dead, 70 ft.
Canidae (dogs) Eastern Coyote Canis latrans common statewide except SE 265(C), 1126, 1127, 1267 79 Larger than western coyote.
  Gray Wolf Canis lupus endangered extirpated 581, 1038(P), 1128 37 Ancestor of domestic dog, social.
  Red Fox Vulpes vulpes common statewide 435(W), 436(Y), 582   White tip on tail, eats rodents.
  Gray Fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus common statewide 584 189 Black stripe on upper tail, climbs trees!
Ursidae (Bears) American Black Bear Ursus americanus common statewide except NYC 142(C), 1132(S)   Usually not aggressive, adults climb trees.
Procyonidae (raccoons) Raccoon Procyon lotor common statewide 140, 709(S) 119 Nocturnal, omnivorous
Mustelidae (weasels) Marten Martes americana common NE NY   289 Found in isolated pockets of habitat.
  Fisher Martes pennanti common NE NY 590(C), 156 Successfuly preys on porcupines.
  Ermine Mustela ermina common statewide 588(P) 195 Varies color seasonally.
  Long-tail weasel Mustela frenata common statewide     Like all weasels, beneficial. Kills rodents.
  Mink Mustela vison common statewide 1129   Lives near water, eats other vertebrates.
  Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis common statewide 280 173 Nocturnal, omnivorous, beneficial
  River Otter Lutra canadensis common   802(AC), 859(G)   Playful, eats fish
Felidae (cats) Mountain Lion Felis concolor endangered extirpated 275, 276, 586(C) 200 Unofficial reports of tracks or sightings are probably escapes from captivity.
  Lynx Lynx canadensis rare Adirondacks 587   Attempts at reintroduction appear to be largely unsuccessful.
  Bobcat Lynx rufus rare statewide 819 Found at higher elevations away from domestic animals which carry diseases.
PINNIPEDIA (seals, sea lions)              
Phocidae (true seals) Harbor Seal Phoca vitulina common Off Long Is. 135, 594(C), 1131   Non-migratory; not associated with ice.
  Gray Seal Halichoreus grypus common Off Long Is. 454(FM)   Larger than harbor seal, with "Roman Nose."
ARTIODACTYLA (Even-toed ungulates)              
Cervidae (deer) White-Tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus common statewide 185(F), 186(A), 803(M), 1279(M) 388 Abandoned farms providing much habitat.
  Moose Alces alces rare Adirondacks 192(M), 618(CM) 154 Beginning to return on their own.
*Letters to describe the slides available:     A = anatomical specialization     H = habitat or sign of animal's activity  
      B = specialized behaviour     S = Skull  
      C = close-up of head region     Y = young  
      F = female, when sexes differ     G = group  
      FM = female(s) & male(s) shown when differences obvious     (no letter) = standard portrait  
References used in preparing this list:              
Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider., A Field Guide to the Mammals, (1976) (Peterson's Field Guide Series)              
R. M. Novak, Walker's Mammals of the World, (1991)              
D. A. Saunders, Adirondack Mammals