Mammals of Illinois

Mammalogy is the branch of zoology that deals with animals belonging to the class Mammalia. Two of the characteristics that distinguish mammals from the other vertebrates are the presence of hair on at least part of their bodies and the fact that females nourish their young with milk secreted by their mammary glands.

About 5,413 species of living mammals, divided into 30 orders and 149 families, are currently recognized. The larger mammals, such as carnivores and ungulates, are among the most familiar and charismatic of animals, although the majority of mammal species are small rodents or bats that go largely unnoticed by most people.

Mammals possess morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations for an amazing variety of habitats and lifestyles. Some mammals spend most of their time underground or in trees, some are completely aquatic, some live in extremely arid deserts, and some can even fly.

Illinois contains 5 state endangered and 4 state threatened species. The INHS Mammal Collection contains specimens from each of these species. A full checklist of mammals found in Illinois is listed below.

Phylum Chordata

Class Mammalia

Order Didelphimorphia: Opossums

Family Didelphidae: Opossums

Didelphis virginiana Kerr, 1792 – Virginia opossum

Order Soricomorpha: Insectivores

Family Soricidae: Shrews

Sorex cinereus Kerr, 1792 – masked or cinereus shrew
Sorex longirostris Bachman, 1837 – southeastern shrew
Sorex hoyi Baird, 1857 – American pygmy shrew
Blarina brevicauda (Say, 1823) – northern short-tailed shrew
Blarina carolinensis (Bachman, 1837) – southern short-tailed shrew
Cryptotis parva (Say, 1823) – North American least shrew

Family Talpidae: Moles

Scalopus aquaticus (Linnaeus, 1758) – eastern mole

Order Chiroptera: Bats

Family Vespertilionidae: Vespertilionid bats

Myotis lucifugus (Le Conte, 1831) – little brown bat
Myotis sodalis Miller & Allen, 1928 – Indiana bat FE / SE
Myotis austroriparius (Rhoads, 1897) – southeastern myotis SE
Myotis grisescens A.H. Howell, 1909 – gray bat FE / SE
Myotis septentrionalis (Trouessart, 1897) – northern long-eared bat or northern myotis
Lasionycteris noctivagans (Le Conte, 1831) – silver-haired bat
Pipistrellus subflavus (F. Cuvier, 1832) – eastern pipistrelle
Eptesicus fuscus (Beauvois, 1796) – big brown bat
Lasiurus borealis (Mülller, 1776) – eastern red bat
Lasiurus cinereus (Palisot de Beauvois, 1796) – hoary bat
Nycticeius humeralis (Rafinesque, 1818) – evening bat
Corynorhinus rafinesquii (Lesson, 1827) – Rafinesque’s big-eared bat SE

Order Cinqulata: Armadillos

Family Dasypodidae: Armadillos

Dasypus novemcinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) – nine-banded armadillo U

Order Lagomorpha: Lagomorphs

Family Leporidae: Rabbits and hares

Sylvilagus floridanus (J.A. Allen, 1890) – eastern cottontail
Sylvilagus aquaticus (Bachman, 1837) – swamp rabbit
Lepus townsendii Bachman, 1839 – white-tailed jackrabbit X

Order Rodentia: Rodents

Family Sciuridae: Squirrels

Tamias striatus (Linnaeus, 1758) – eastern chipmunk
Marmota monax (Linnaeus, 1758) – woodchuck
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus (Mitchill, 1821) – thirteen-lined ground squirrel
Spermophilus franklinii (Sabine, 1822) – Franklin’s ground squirrel ST
Sciurus carolinensis Gmelin, 1788 – eastern gray squirrel
Sciurus niger Linnaeus, 1758 – eastern fox squirrel
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (Erxleben, 1777) – red squirrel
Glaucomys volans (Linnaeus, 1758) – southern flying squirrel

Family Geomyidae: Pocket gophers

Geomys bursarius (Shaw, 1800) – plains pocket gopher

Family Castoridae: Beavers

Castor canadensis Kuhl, 1820 – American beaver

Family Cricetidae: Rats, mice and voles

Oryzomys palustris (Harlan, 1837) – marsh rice rat ST
Reithrodontomys megalotis (Baird, 1858) – western harvest mouse
Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner, 1845) – deer mouse
Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque, 1818) – white-footed mouse
Peromyscus gossypinus (Le Conte, 1853) – cotton mouse
Ochrotomys nuttalli (Harlan, 1832) – golden mouse ST
Neotoma floridana (Ord, 1818) – eastern woodrat SE
Microtus pennsylvanicus (Ord, 1815) – meadow vole
Microtus ochrogaster (Wagner, 1842) – prairie vole
Microtus pinetorum (Le Conte, 1830) – woodland vole
Ondatra zibethicus (Linnaeus, 1766) – muskrat
Synaptomys cooperi Baird, 1858 – southern bog lemming

Family Murinae: Old World rats and mice

Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769) – Norway rat I
Mus musculus Linnaeus, 1758 – house mouse I

Family Dipodidae: Jumping mice

Zapus hudsonius (Zimmermann, 1780) – meadow jumping mouse

Family Erethizontidae

Erethizon dorsata (Linnaeus, 1758) – North American porcupine X

Order Carnivora: Carnivores

Family Canidae: Coyotes, wolves

Canis latrans Say, 1823 – coyote
Canis lupus Linnaeus 1758 – wolf X, FT / ST
Vulpes vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758) – red fox
Urocyon cinereoargenteus (Schreber, 1775) – gray fox

Family Procyonidae: Raccoons, ringtails

Procyon lotor (Linnaeus, 1758) – raccoon

Family Mustelidae: Weasels, badgers, and allies

Mustela nivalis Linnaeus, 1766 – least weasel
Mustela frenata Lichtenstein, 1831 – long-tailed weasel
Neovison vison (Schreber, 1777) – American mink
Taxidea taxus (Schreber, 1777) – American badger
Martes pennanti (Erxleben, 1777) – fisher X
Martes americana (Turton, 1806) – American marten X
Lontra canadensis (Schreber, 1777) – North American river otter

Family Mephitidae: Skunks

Mephitis mephitis (Schreber, 1776) – striped skunk

Family Felidae: Cats

Lynx rufus (Schreber, 1777) – bobcat
Puma concolor (Linnaeus, 1771) – cougar X

Family Ursidae: Bears

Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780 – American black bear X

Order Artiodactyla: Even-toed Ungulates

Family Cervidae: Deer and allies

Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann, 1780) – white-tailed deer
Cervus elaphus Linnaeus, 1758 – elk (wapiti) X

Family Bovidae: Bovids

Bison bison (Linnaeus, 1758) – American bison X


FE = Federal Endangered
FT = Federal Threatened
X = Extirpated from Illinois
SE = Illinois State Endangered
ST = Illinois State Threatened
I = Introduced (non-native)
U = Status in Illinois Uncertain