Mammals of Montana

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Bighorn Sheep

There are at least 19 Large Mammal and 96 Small Mammal species known to occur in Montana.[1] Among Montana's mammals, three are listed as endangered or threatened species and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks lists a number of species as Species of Concern.[2]

Species are listed by common name, scientific name, typical habitat and occurrence. Common and scientific names from R. S. Hoffman and D. L. Pattie, A Guide to Montana Mammals, 1968.[3]

Large mammals[edit]

Black Bear[edit]

Black Bear

Order: Carnivora, Family: Ursidae

Occurrence: Forests, slide areas, alpine meadows

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is North America's smallest and most common species of bear. It is a generalist animal, being able to exploit numerous different habitats and foodstuffs. The American black bear is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern, due to the species widespread distribution and a large global population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined.[4][5]

Bighorn Sheep[edit]

Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Bovidae

Occurrence: Open mountainous areas

Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis)[6] is a species of sheep in North America[7] with large horns. The horns can weigh up to 30 pounds (14 kg), while the sheep themselves weigh up to 300 pounds (140 kg).[8] Recent genetic testing indicates that there are three distinct subspecies of Ovis canadensis, one of which is endangered: Ovis canadensis sierrae.[9]

American Bison[edit]

Order: Artiodactyla Family: Bovidae

Occurrence: Eastside parklands and prairies

The American Bison (Bison bison) is a North American species of bison, also commonly known as the American Buffalo. These bison once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds; their range roughly formed a triangle between the Great Bear Lake in Canada's far northwest, south to the Mexican states of Durango and Nuevo León, and east along the western boundary of the Appalachian Mountains.[10][11]

Bobcat[edit]

Bobcat

Order: Carnivora, Family: Felidae

Occurrence: Open forests, brushy areas

The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States. The Bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semi-desert, urban edge, forest edges and swampland environments. It persists in much of its original range and populations are healthy.[12]

Coyote[edit]

Order: Carnivora, Family: Canidae

Occurrence: Forests, grasslands

The coyote (/kˈt/ or /ˈk.t/)[13] (Canis latrans), also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf,[14] is a species of canid found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada. It occurs as far north as Alaska and all but the northernmost portions of Canada.[15]

Elk[edit]

Elk

Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Cervidae

Occurrence: Open forests, meadows

The elk, or wapiti (Cervus canadensis), is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest mammals in North America and eastern Asia. In the deer family (Cervidae), only the moose, Alces alces (called an "elk" in Europe), is larger, and Cervus unicolor (the sambar deer) can rival the C. canadensis elk in size. Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark.[16]

Gray Wolf[edit]

Order: Carnivora, Family: Canidae

Occurrence: Coniferous forests

The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus), often known simply as the wolf, is the largest wild member of the Canidae family. It is an ice age survivor originating during the Late Pleistocene around 300,000 years ago.[17] DNA sequencing and genetic drift studies reaffirm that the gray wolf shares a common ancestry with the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). Although certain aspects of this conclusion have been questioned, the main body of evidence confirms it. A number of other gray wolf subspecies have been identified, though the actual number of subspecies is still open to discussion. Gray wolves are typically apex predators in the ecosystems they occupy.

Grizzly Bear[edit]

Grizzly sow

Order: Carnivora, Family: Ursidae

Occurrence: Forests, slide areas, alpine meadows

The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), also known as the silvertip bear, is a subspecies of brown bear (Ursus arctos) that generally lives in the uplands of western North America. Grizzlies are normally solitary active animals, but in coastal areas the grizzly congregates alongside streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds during the salmon spawn.[18]

Canada Lynx[edit]

Order: Carnivora, Family: Felidae

Occurrence: Coniferous forests

The Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. It is a close relative of the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx). Some authorities regard both as conspecific. However, in some characteristics the Canadian Lynx is more like the Bobcat (Lynx rufus) than the Eurasian Lynx. With the recognized subspecies, it ranges across Canada and into Alaska as well as some parts of the northern United States.[19]

Moose[edit]

Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Cervidae

Occurrence: Coniferous forests, lakes, slow streams, marshy areas

The moose (North America) or common European elk (Europe), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a "twig-like" configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates.[20]

Mountain Goat[edit]

The Mountain Goat is the official symbol of Glacier National Park.

Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Bovidae

Occurrence: High peaks and meadows

The Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus), also known as the Rocky Mountain Goat, is a large-hoofed mammal found only in North America. Despite its vernacular name, it is not a member of Capra, the genus of true goats. It resides at high elevations and is a sure-footed climber, often resting on rocky cliffs that predators cannot reach.[21]

Mountain Lion[edit]

Order: Carnivora, Family: Felidae

Occurrence: Coniferous forests

The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the American continents after the jaguar. Although large, the cougar is most closely related to smaller felines.[22]

Mule Deer[edit]

Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Cervidae

Occurrence: Open forests, meadows, often at high elevations

The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a deer whose habitat is in the western half of North America. It gets its name from its large mule-like ears. Adult male mule deer are called bucks, adult females are called does, and young of both sexes are called fawns. The black-tailed deer is considered by some a distinct species though it is classified as a subspecies of the Mule Deer. Unlike its cousin, the white-tailed deer, mule deer are generally more associated with the land west of the Missouri River. The most noticeable differences between whitetails and mule deer are the color of their tails and configuration of their antlers. The mule deer's tail is black tipped.[23]

Pronghorn[edit]

Order: Artiodactyla Family: Antilocapridae

Occurrence: Eastside prairies,

The Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), is a species of artiodactyl mammal native to interior western and central North America. Though not a true antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the Prong Buck, Pronghorn Antelope or simply Antelope,[24] as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and fills a similar ecological niche due to convergent evolution.[25] It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae.[26][27]

Red Fox[edit]

Red Fox kits

Order: Carnivora, Family: Canidae

Occurrence: Grasslands, open forest

The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a small canid native to much of North America and Eurasia, as well as northern Africa. It is the most recognizable species of fox and in many areas it is referred to simply as "the fox". As its name suggests, its fur is predominantly reddish-brown, but there is a naturally occurring grey morph known as the “silver” fox. The red fox is by far the most widespread and abundant species of fox, found in almost every single habitat in the Northern Hemisphere, from the coastal marshes of United States, to the alpine tundras of Tibetan Plateau.[28]

Swift Fox[edit]

Swift Fox

Order: Carnivora, Family: Canidae

Occurrence:,

The Swift Fox (Vulpes velox) is a small light orange-tan fox around the size of a domestic cat found in the western grasslands of North America, such as Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.[29] It also lives in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada, where it was previously extirpated.[4] It is closely related to the Kit Fox and the two species are sometimes known as subspecies of Vulpes velox because hybrids of the two species occur naturally where their ranges overlap.

The Swift Fox lives primarily in short-grass prairies and deserts. Due to predator control programs in the 1930s, it was considered extinct in Canada for some time, but reintroduction programs have been successful in reintroducing the species. Due to stable populations elsewhere, the species is considered by the IUCN to be of Least Concern,[4][30]

White-tailed Deer[edit]

White-tailed deer buck

Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Cervidae

Occurrence: Coniferous forests, meadows, creek and river bottoms,

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the Virginia deer, or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States (all but five of the states), Canada, Mexico, Central America, and in South America as far south as Peru. The species is most common east of the Rocky Mountains, and is absent from much of the western United States, including Nevada, Utah, California, Hawaii, and Alaska (though its close relatives, the mule deer and black-tailed deer Odocoileus hemionus, can be found there). It does, however, survive in aspen parklands and deciduous river bottomlands within the central and northern Great Plains, and in mixed deciduous riparian corridors, river valley bottomlands, and lower foothills of the northern Rocky Mountain regions from Wyoming to southeastern British Columbia.[31]

Woodland Caribou[edit]

Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Cervidae

The migratory woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), also known as the forest caribou or woodland caribou (not to be confused with woodland reindeer, a term which also includes forest-dwelling Eurasian subspecies), is a subspecies of the caribou. As traditionally defined, it is found in boreal forests of Canada and far northern contiguous United States, ranging from Newfoundland and Labrador west and south to Washington, but some evidence suggests this range actually includes several subspecies.[7][32]

Small mammals[edit]

Raccoons[edit]

Order: Carnivora Family: Procyonidae

  • Raccoon, Procyon lotor, Open forests, stream bottoms[33]

Badgers and Weasels[edit]

Order: Carnivora Family: Mustelidae

Skunks[edit]

Order: Carnivora Family: Mephitidae

Hares and Rabbits[edit]

From Montana Field Guide:[34]

Order: Lagomorpha Family: Leporidae

Pikas[edit]

Order: Lagomorpha Family: Ochotonidae

Shrews[edit]

From the Montana Field Guide:[35]

Order: Soricomorpha Family: Soricidae

Beaver[edit]

Order: Rodentia Family: Castoridae

Squirrels[edit]

From the Montana Field Guide:[37]

Order: Rodentia Family: Sciuridae

Pocket Mice and Kangaroo Rats[edit]

From the Montana Field Guide:[38]

Order: Rodentia Family: Heteromyidae

Pocket Gophers[edit]

Order: Rodentia Family: Geomyidae

Mice[edit]

Order: Rodentia Family: Cricetidae

Jumping Mice[edit]

Order: Rodentia Family: Dipodidae

Muskrats, Voles and Woodrats[edit]

From Montana Field Guide:[39]

Order: Rodentia Family: Cricetidae

Porcupines[edit]

Order: Rodentia Family: Erethizontidae

Bats[edit]

From the Montana Field Guide:[41]

Order: Chiroptera Family: Vespertilionidae

Exotic species, not native to Montana[edit]

Feral Horse[edit]

The wild horse (Equus ferus) is a species of the genus Equus, which includes as subspecies both the domesticated horse as well as the undomesticated Tarpan and Przewalski's Horse.[7] The term "wild horse" is also used colloquially to refer to free roaming herds of feral horses such as the Mustang in the United States, the Brumby in Australia, and many others. These feral horses are untamed members of the domestic horse subspecies (Equus ferus caballus), and should not be confused with the two truly "wild" horse subspecies.[42]

Small mammals[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Montana Field Guide". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Species of Concern are native taxa that are at-risk due to declining population trends, threats to their habitats, restricted distribution, and/or other factors. Designation as a Montana Species of Concern or Potential Species of Concern is based on the Montana Status Rank, and is not a statutory or regulatory classification. Rather, these designations provide information that helps resource managers make proactive decisions regarding species conservation and data collection priorities. "Species Status Codes". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Hoffman, R.S.; Pattie, D.L. (1968). A Guide to Montana Mammals. University of Montana Press. 
  4. ^ a b c Garshelis, D.L., Crider, D. & van Manen, F. (2008). Ursus americanus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Black Bear". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ovis canadensis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 March 2006. 
  7. ^ a b c Grubb, P. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  8. ^ Bighorn Sheep
  9. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Bighorn Sheep". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  10. ^ http://www.discoverlife.org/nh/tx/Vertebrata/Mammalia/Bovidae/Bos/bison/images/Bison_bison_map.320.jpg.html
  11. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Bison". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Bobcat". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  13. ^ coyote - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  14. ^ prairie wolf. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-07
  15. ^ "Canis latrans". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 15 August 2007. 
  16. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Elk". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  17. ^ Nowak, R. 1992. Wolves: The great travelers of evolution. International Wolf 2(4):3 - 7.
  18. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Grizzly Bear". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  19. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Canada Lynx". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  20. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Moose". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  21. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Mountain Goat". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  22. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Mountain Lion". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Mule Deer". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  24. ^ Caton, J. D. (1876). The American Antelope, or Prong Buck The American Naturalist 10 (4): 193-205.
  25. ^ Farb, Peter (1970). Ecology. Time Life Books. pp. 126, 136
  26. ^ Smithsonian Institution. North American Mammals: Pronghorn Antilocapra americana
  27. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Pronghorn". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  28. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Red Fox". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  29. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  30. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Swift Fox". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  31. ^ "Montana Field Guide-White-tailed Deer". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  32. ^ Geist, V. (2007). Defining subspecies, invalid taxonomic tools, and the fate of the woodland caribou. The Eleventh North American Caribou Workshop (2006). Rangifer, Special Issue 17: 25-28.
  33. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Raccoon". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  34. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Rabbits". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Park. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  35. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Shrews". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  36. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Beaver". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  37. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Squirrels". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Park. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  38. ^ "Montana Field Guide". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  39. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Mice". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  40. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Porcupine". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  41. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Bats". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  42. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Feral Horse". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  43. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Nutria". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  44. ^ "Montana Field Guide-Virginia Opossum". Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 22 November 2010.