Mammals of North Dakota

ORDER / Family Common Name Species Status Distribution ASM Slide Library # * Mamm. Species # Comments
Didelphidae Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana common southeast corner 4(W), 630, 828(B), 829(B), 830(B) 40 nocturnal
Soricidae Northern short-tailed shrew Blarina brevicauda common eastern 1/2 20, 644(S) 261 venomous; active day and night
  Arctic shrew Sorex arcticus uncommon northern 1/4 and eastern 1/4   524 few live longer than 15 months in the wild
  Masked shrew Sorex cinereus   statewide     this species ranges into eastern Siberia
  Pygmy shrew Sorex hoyi uncommon eastern 1/8, northeast 3/4   33 smallest mammal in the world
  Merriam's shrew Sorex merriami uncommon southwest corner   2 only 1 specimen taken in North Dakota
  Water shrew Sorex palustris possible southeast corner 1287 296 excellent swimmers and divers
Vespertilionidae Big brown bat Eptesicus fuscus common statewide 39(C), 223 356 active later than most hibernating species
  Silver-haired bat Lasionycteris noctivagans common statewide 658 172 roosts under bark and in hollow trees
  Red bat Lasiurus borealis common statewide (except southwest corner) 40, 655(C), 815(C) 183 broadest distribution of any new world bat; roosts in trees; interfemoral membrane heavily furred
  Hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus common statewide 41, 42, 656 185 roosts in trees; interfemoral membrane heavily furred
  Western small-footed myotis Myotis ciliolabrum uncommon northern 1/4 226 547 occurs in rocky habitats
  Long-eared myotis Myotis evotis common northern 1/5, eastern 1/2 732 329 hibernates in caves and mines
  Little brown myotis Myotis lucifugus common statewide 224, 225(G), 814(G) 142 frequents man-made structures
  Northern myotis Myotis septentrionalis common southwest corner 227 121 hibernates in caves and mines
  Long-legged myotis Myotis volans common western 1/3   224 inhabits open forested lands
  Townsend's big-eared bat Plecotus townsendii uncommon southwest corner 229(C) 175 hibernates in caves; cavernicolous
Leporidae Snowshoe hare Lepus americanus uncommon northern 1/2 to southeast corner 246, 544(P)   autumn molt turns pelage white
  White-tailed jackrabbit Lepus townsendii common statewide 1189, 1349 288 do not do so well in cultivated areas
  Desert cottontail Sylvilagus audubonii uncommon southwest 1/3 59, 1188 106 moisture from food supplies needed water
  Eastern cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus common statewide 58, 953(Y) 136 restricted to riparian habitat
  Nuttall's cottontail Sylvilagus nuttallii uncommon northwestern 1/3 to southwest corner   56 inhabits sagebrush
Castoridae Beaver Castor canadensis common statewide 247(H), 248(H), 408, 409(H), 410(H), 1239, 1316(H), 1317(H) 120 largest rodent in North America
Dipodidae Meadow jumping mouse Zapus hudsonius common eastern 3/4, northern 9/10, southwest corner   11 routinely leaps up to one meter
  Western jumping mouse Zapus princeps common northern 1/4, eastern 1/6 (except northeast corner) 1110   prefers dense cover and tall grasses
Erethizontidae Porcupine Erethizon dorsatum uncommon-common statewide 83, 870(Y) 29 barbed quills; prefer wooded and forested areas
Geomyidae Plains pocket gopher Geomys bursarius common eastern 1/6 690   highly fossorial; upper incisors are grooved
  Northern pocket gopher Thomomys talpoides common western 5/6, northeast corner 688, 689(A)   highly fossorial; upper incisors are smooth
Heteromyidae Hispid pocket mouse Chaetodipus hispidus uncommon southwestern edge   320 seldom venture above ground in winter (each seed cache)
  Ord's kangaroo rat Dipodomys ordii common southwest corner 560, 693(S), 1099, 1352 353 can live indefinitely without water
  Olive-backed pocket mouse Perognathus fasciatus common western 7/8   303 prefers short-grass rangeland
  Plains pocket mouse Perognathus flavescens common southeastern 1/4 694, 1337 525 prefers sandy soils with vegetative cover
Muridae Southern red-backed vole Clethrionomys gapperi common northern 1/3, eastern 1/2 69 146 restricted to habitats with free water due to high water requirements
  Sagebrush vole Lemmiscus curtatus rare western 1/4 1139   may use "cow chips" as temporary shelter
  Prairie vole Microtus ochrogaster common statewide 1160 355 inhabits tall-grass communities and upland habitats
  Meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus common statewide 70 159 inhabits moist meadows, marshes, and riparian habitat
  House mouse Mus musculus common statewide 92, 754   from Europe; frequently associated with man-made structures
  Bushy-tailed woodrat Neotoma cinerea common southwestern 1/4 1351 564 bushy tail looks similar to a squirrels tail
  Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus common statewide 1162, 1163(S) 141 requires body of water
  Northern grasshopper mouse Onychomys leucogaster common-uncommon statewide 253(C), 1017, 1169 87 behavior similar to canids
  White-footed mouse Peromyscus leucopus common statewide 73, 1174 247 prefer habitats with three dimensional structure
  Deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus common statewide 251(A), 1175   probably the most abundant vertebrate on the plains
  Norway rat Rattus norvegicus introduced-common statewide 755(W), 756(G), 757(B), 758   from Europe; possibly the most destructive of all mammals
  Western harvest mouse Reithrodontomys megalotis common southern 3/4, western 1/6 1018 167 strictly nocturnal
  Plains harvest mouse Reithrodontomys montanus possible southwestern corner   257 does well in grazed rangeland
Sciuridae Black-tailed prairie dog Cynomys ludovicianus common southwestern 1/2 105 535 keep vegetation surrounding burrows shortly cropped
  Northern flying squirrel Glaucomys sabrinus uncommon-common eastern 1/8, northeast 3/4 1020 259 highly arboreal; nocturnal; great gliders
  Woodchuck Marmota monax common northeastern 1/2, eastern 1/8 107 591 hibernate 4 to 6 months per year
  Gray squirrel Sciurus carolinensis uncommon-common northeastern 4/5 94, 95(P) 480 prefers dense woodland
  Fox squirrel Sciurus niger common eastern 1/2, southwestern 9/10 96, 880 479 prefers open woodland
  Franklin's ground squirrel Spermophilus franklinii uncommon-common northeastern 1/2, eastern 1/3 104   occurs in tall-grass prairie
  Richardson's ground squirrel Spermophilus richardsonii uncommon northern 1/4, eastern 1/2   243 territorial
  Thirteen-lined ground squirrel Spermophilus tridecemlineatus common statewide 103, 573(C), 103 abundant along rights-of-way and roadsides
  Least chipmunk Tamias minimus common northeastern 1/8 to central, southwestern 1/4     occurs in more varied habitats than most squirrels
  Eastern chipmunk Tamias striatus uncommon northeastern 1/2, eastern 1/8 110, 259(AB) 168 does not occur in open country
  Red squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus uncommon eastern 1/6, north-central 1/4 111, 260, 826, 827(H) 586 inhabits coniferous forests
Canidae Coyote Canis latrans common statewide 256(C), 1126, 1127, 1267 79 benefiting from agricultural development
  Gray wolf Canis lupus extirpated   581, 1038(P), 1128 37 federally endangered; was once widespread in North Dakota
  Gray fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus common eastern 1/2 584 189 frequently climbs trees
  Swift fox Vulpes velox uncommon-common statewide (except southeast corner) 583(Y), 1208 122 most abundant on short-grass prairie
  Red fox Vulpes vulpes uncommon-common statewide 435(W), 436(Y), 582 537 may have been introduced
Felidae Mountain lion Felis concolor extirpated   275, 276, 586(C) 200 possible
  Lynx Lynx lynx uncommon-common statewide 1046 269 prefers boreal and montane forests, but disperse onto plains during high population eruptions
  Bobcat Lynx rufus uncommon statewide 819, 1293 563 most abundant in areas with broken terrain which provides cover
Mustelidae Wolverine Gulo gulo extirpated   442(C), 807(S), 1296(S), 1297(S), 1298(S) 499 declined in number during the late 1800's
  River otter Lontra canadensis uncommon statewide 802(AC), 859(G) 587 play by sliding in mud, snow, wet grass, and ice
  Marten Martes americana rare northeast corner   289 may be extirpated from state
  Fisher Martes pennanti rare northeast corner 590(C) 156 may be extirpated from state
  Striped skunk Mephitis mephitis common statewide 280 173 commensal with man
  Ermine Mustela erminea uncommon northeastern 1/4 588(P), 1051 195 circumboreal distribution
  Long-tailed weasel Mustela frenata common-uncommon statewide 1348 570 males feed on mammals as large as snow shoe hares; females feed on mouse-sized rodents
  Black-footed ferret Mustela nigripes extirpated   128 126 federally endangered
  Least weasel Mustela nivalis uncommon statewide (except southwest corner) 440(Y), 1214, 1350 454 smallest weasel in North Dakota
  Mink Mustela vison uncommon statewide 1129 608 inhabits areas near water
  Eastern spotted skunk Spilogale putorius uncommon southern 1/3     prefers forest edge habitat
  Badger Taxidea taxus common-uncommon statewide 701(C), 702(A), 703(H) 26 feed on any small mammal easily obtained
Procyonidae Raccoon Procyon lotor common statewide 140, 709(S) 119 does not wash food
Ursidae Black bear Ursus americanus extirpated   142(C), 1132   occur in forested areas
  Grizzly bear Ursus arctos extirpated   455, 821(CB), 1008, 1271 439 feed primarily on carrion, fruits, fish, and burrowing mammals
Antilocapridae Pronghorn Antilocapra americana uncommon western 1/3 166(M), 717(M), 718(F), 823(B) 90 fastest land animal in North America
Bovidae Bison Bison bison extirpated   167(M), 304(CM), 305(Y), 306(H), 719(W), 720, 1311(B), 1224, 1273, 1311(G) 266 important in shaping the plains
  Mountain sheep Ovis canadensis extirpated   168(G), 169(G), 307(CM), 941(FM) 230 was once common in the foothills
Cervidae Moose Alces alces uncommon eastern 1/8, northeastern 1/4 192(M), 618(CM) 154 most common in disturbed habitat
  American elk/Wapiti Cervus elaphus extirpated   189(W), 190(G), 318(Y), 809(FM), 863(M), 864(F), 1077(F), 1278   was once abundant along riparian habitat
  Mule deer Odocoileus hemionus common statewide 187(M), 475(Y), 476(F) 219 common in open country
  White-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus common statewide 185(F), 186(A), 803(M), 1279, 1313 388 most common at forest edge
  Caribou Rangifer tarandus extirpated   193(GM), 477(G), 1280, 1314   both sexes have antlers
Selected references              
Jones, J. K., Jr., D. M. Armstrong, and J. R. Choate. 1985. Guide to mammals of the plains states. Univ. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, xvii + 371 pp.
Jones, J. K., Jr., D. M. Armstrong, R. S. Hoffmann, and C. Jones. 1983. Mammals of the Northern Great Plains. Univ. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, xii + 379 pp.
* Slide symbols              
No symbol -- portrait              
A -- anatomical specialization              
B -- specialized behavior              
C -- close-up of head region              
F -- female, when sexes differ              
FM -- female(s) and male(s) shown when differences obvious              
G -- group              
H -- habitat or sign of animals activity              
M -- male, when sexes differ              
P -- unusual color phase              
S -- skull              
W -- female with young              
Y -- young, may be newborn              
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