• Are in the class Mammalia within the subphylum Vertebrata.
  • Are warm-blooded. They have the ability to maintain their body temperature by internal means. The technical word for this is endothermy. Birds are the only other group of animals in the world that can do this.
  • Feed their babies milk.
  • Have hair. This unique body covering is made of keratin and grows from special cells located in the skin. Some mammals are hairier than others.  Marine mammals such as whales may be virtually hairless.
  • Have a four-chambered heart. This is the most advanced kind of heart. It keeps the arterial (oxygenated) and venous (oxygen-depleted) blood completely separate.
  • Have live birth. The monotremes (platypus and echidnas) are exceptions in that they lay eggs. In marsupials, such as the opossum, the young are born in a very primitive state and then finish their development in an external pouch.
  • Have very specialized and diversified teeth. Again, there are some exceptions (monotremes, baleen whales, e.g.), but the mammals have carried development of teeth farther than any other group of animals.
  • Have a diaphragm. The diaphragm is the special muscle located below the lungs that draws air into the lungs. This increases the efficiency of breathing. No other type of animal has this muscle



Black-tailed prairie dogs, named for their black-tipped tails and dog-like "bark," once lived throughout the Great Plains in "towns" that extended for miles and contained hundreds of thousands of individuals.

Mammal Master List

Currently, there are about 4,630 recognized species of mammals in the world, divided into 26 living orders. Within Kansas 89 species are known to have occurred from 24 families in 8 orders.

The checklist below is drawn from "A Checklist of the Vertebrate Animals of Kansas", 3rd Edition, by George D. Potts and Joseph T. Collins, published by Kansas Biological Survey (2005). This publication is available from the Kansas University Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045-7163.

The common and scientific names used for each species are from the Revised Checklist of North American Mammals North of Mexico, 2003 by Baker et al., published by the Museum of Texas Tech University, Occasional Papers Number 229 (2003). This publication may be downloaded (10 meg pdf file) from the Texas Tech website.

The scientific name of each species follows the common name and is written in italics. Species in red are considered extirpated from the wild in Kansas. Species marked with an asterisk* are not native to Kansas.

Order of Opossums [Didelphimorpha]

Order of Shrews and Moles [Insectivora]

Family Soricidae
Northern Short-tailed Shrew - Blarina brevicauda
Elliot's Short-tailed Shrew - Blarina hylophaga
Least Shrew - Cryptotis parva
Masked Shrew - Sorex cinereus
Family Talpidae
Eastern Mole - Scalopus aquaticus

Order of Bats [Chiroptera]

Family Vespertilionidae
Pallid Bat - Antrozous pallidus
Townsend's Big-eared Bat - Corynorhinus townsendii
Big Brown Bat - Eptesicus fuscus
Silver-haired Bat - Lasionycteris noctivagans
Eastern Red Bat - Lasiurus borealis
Hoary Bat - Lasiurus cinereus
Western Small-footed Myotis - Myotis ciliolabrum
Gray Myotis - Myotis grisescens
Little Brown Myotis - Myotis lucifugus
Northern Long-eared Myotis - Myotis septentrionalis
Cave Myotis - Myotis velifer
Evening Bat - Nycticeius humeralis
Eastern Pipistrelle - Pipistrellus subflavus

Family Molossidae
Big Free-tailed Bat - Nyctinomops macrotis
Brazilian Free-tailed Bat - Tadarida brasiliensis

Order of Toothless Mammals [Xenarthra]

Order of Rabbits and Hares [Lagomorpha]

Family Leporidae
Black-tailed Jack Rabbit - Lepus californicus
White-tailed Jack Rabbit - Lepus townsendii
Swamp Rabbit - Sylvilagus aquaticus
Desert Cottontail - Sylvilagus audubonii
Eastern Cottontail - Sylvilagus floridanus

Order of Rodents [Rodentia]

Family Sciuridae
Black-tailed Prairie Dog - Cynomys ludovicianus
Southern Flying Squirrel - Glaucomys volans
Woodchuck - Marmota monax
Eastern Gray Squirrel - Sciurus carolinensis
Eastern Fox Squirrel - Sciurus niger
Franklin's Ground Squirrel - Spermophilus franklinii
Spotted Ground Squirrel - Spermophilus spilosoma
Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel - Spermophilus tridecemlineatus
Eastern Chipmunk - Tamias striatus
Family Geomyidae
Yellow-faced Pocket Gopher - Cratogeomys castanops
Plains Pocket Gopher - Geomys bursarius
Family Heteromyidae
Hispid Pocket Mouse - Chaetodipus hispidus
Ord's Kangaroo Rat - Dipodomys ordii
Plains Pocket Mouse - Perognathus flavescens
Silky Pocket Mouse - Perognathus flavus
Family Castoridae
American Beaver - Castor canadensis
Family Muridae
Prairie Vole - Microtus ochrogaster
Meadow Vole - Microtus pennsylvanicus
Woodland Vole - Microtus pinetorum
House Mouse - Mus musculus*
Eastern Woodrat - Neotoma floridana
Southern Plains Woodrat - Neotoma micropus
Common Muskrat - Ondatra zibethicus
Northern Grasshopper Mouse - Onychomys leucogaster
Texas Mouse - Peromyscus attwateri
White-footed Mouse - Peromyscus leucopus
Deer Mouse - Peromyscus maniculatus
Norway Rat - Rattus norvegicus*
Black Rat - Rattus rattus*
Fulvous Harvest Mouse - Reithrodontomys fulvescens
Western Harvest Mouse - Reithrodontomys megalotis
Plains Harvest Mouse - Reithrodontomys montanus
Hispid Cotton Rat - Sigmodon hispidus
Southern Bog Lemming - Synaptomys cooperi
Family Zapodidae
Meadow Jumping Mouse - Zapus hudsonius
Family Erethizontidae
Porcupine - Erithizon dorsatum

Order of Carnivores [Carnivora]

Family Canidae
Coyote - Canis latrans
Gray Wolf - Canis lupus
Common Gray Fox - Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Swift Fox - Vulpes velox
Red Fox - Vulpes vulpes
Family Ursidae
American Black Bear - Ursus americanus
Grizzly Bear - Ursus arctos
Family Procyonidae
Ringtail - Bassiriscus astutus
Northern Raccoon - Procyon lotor
Family Mustelidae
Northern River Otter - Lontra canadensis
Long-tailed Weasel - Mustela frenata
Black-footed Ferret - Mustela migripes
Least Weasel - Mustela nivalis
American Mink - Mustela vison
American Badger - Taxidea taxus
Family Mephitidae
Striped Skunk - Mephitis mephitis
Eastern Spotted Skunk - Spilogale putorius
Family Felidae
Mountain Lion - Puma concolor
Bobcat - Lynx rufus

Order of Even-toed Hoofed Mammals [Artiodactyla]

Family Suidae
Wild Boar - Sus scrofa*
Family Cervidae
Moose - Alces alces
Wapiti(elk) - Cervus elaphas
Mule Deer - Odocoileus hemionus
White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus
Family Antilocapridae
Pronghorn - Antilocapra americana
Family Bovidae
American Bison - Bos bison

More information on mammals:

  • The Kansas Mammal Atlas has up-to-date information
    on all species found in Kansas.
  • Follow this link to a detailed web site on the Mammals of Kansas, complete with an online key! This site reproduces the content in the out-of-print book "Mammals in Kansas"
  • This blog post has good information and links for bats.