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Unit X: Mammals of Kansas Information. Introduction to Mammals. Class Mammalia There are 88 species of mammals native to Kansas.

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introduction to mammals
Introduction to Mammals
  • Class Mammalia
  • There are 88 species of mammals native to Kansas.
  • Mammals are covered with fur/hair and they nurse their young with milk produced by mammary glands. Males and females have these glands, but they are only functional in females.
mammals cont
Mammals cont.
  • Three types of mammals
    • Monotremes: egg-laying mammals. They are not very common at all. The platypus is an example.
    • Marsupials: give birth to partially-developed young that then crawl into a pouch on the mothers belly to nurse and finish development.
    • Placentals: mammals who are born fully developed (although need further care), and who are attached to the mother by the placenta in the uterus, which provides nutrients, oxygen and waste removal for the fetus.
mammals cont4
Mammals cont.
  • Mammals have very specialized teeth.
  • Herbivores eat only plants, and they generally have large, flat teeth for grinding the plant material.
  • Carnivores eat only meat, and they generally have very sharp, razor-like teeth for killing and tearing the flesh of their prey.
  • Omnivores eat both plants and animals, and they have a combination of both types of teeth.
mammals cont5
Mammals cont.
  • Mammals have brains larger and more complex than most other animals.
  • Opossums are North Americas only marsupial. Most marsupials are found in Australia.
  • Humans are mammals, which means we can share diseases with other mammals. We can get very sick from rodents, or even share colds with our dogs or cats.
mammals cont6
Mammals, cont.
  • How to identify mammals:
    • Tracks are a great way to determine which mammals have been in the area. You can find tracks in dirt, sand, mud and snow.
    • If you find skulls, you can observe the teeth. There are various keys for mammal teeth that you can use to determine what species you are looking at.
badger
Badger

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

badger8
Badger
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores
  • Pound for pound, they are probably the most powerful mammals in Kansas.
  • If threatened, they attack explosively.
  • Dig their dens in hillsides and road embankments, with a conspicuous dirt mound at the entrance.
  • Eat mostly smaller rodents such as gophers, prairie dogs, mice, rabbits and insects.
beaver
Beaver

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

beaver12
Beaver
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents
  • Largest rodent in North America. 30-60 lbs.
  • Builds stick and mud dams across streams or a large conical hut in water for shelter.
  • Tail shaped like a paddle.
  • Feeds on small bark and twigs from birch, poplar, maple, willow. Has very sharp teeth.
  • Lives in family groups.
bobcat
Bobcat

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

bobcat14
Bobcat
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores
  • Weighs 15-35 lbs.
  • Short tail.
  • Prefers forest edge habitat, brushy areas.
  • Mostly nocturnal and solitary, very secretive.
  • Eats small mammals, birds, carrion if not tainted. Is the main predator for deer in eastern Kansas.
eastern cottontail16
Eastern Cottontail
  • Order: Lagomorpha, rabbits and hares
  • Habitat is heavy brush, forest strips with open areas.
  • Feeds on green vegetation in summer, bark and twigs in winter.
  • Most important small-game mammal for human hunters.
coyote19
Coyote

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

coyote21
Coyote
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores.
  • Weighs 20-50 lbs.
  • Habitat is prairie and open woodlands.
  • Dens in ground.
  • Has almost always had a bounty on it in some part of the country, although hunting has not reduced its numbers.
  • Very adaptable, intelligent animal.
  • Eats mostly rodents, an does a great service by keeping rodent population down.
big brown bat24
Big Brown Bat
  • Order: Chiroptera, the bats
  • May be the most common bat in Kansas.
  • Hibernate in caves, buildings, rock crevices, mines.
  • May live up to 19 years in the wild
  • Eat primarily beetles and can eat 1/3 of their body weight in insects each night.
  • Hunt by echolocation, where they emit high-pitched squeaks and hear how the sound bounces off of objects and comes back to them.
gray squirrel27
Gray Squirrel
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents
  • They are found in the eastern quarter of Kansas, in Oak-Hickory forest and in towns with oak trees.
  • Build nests out of leaves.
  • Often seen leaping from tree to tree or resting on the tree branches.
fox squirrel30
Fox Squirrel
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents
  • Bushy, fox-like tails that have orange fringe and reddish-orange fur.
  • Larger than Gray Squirrels and spend more time on the ground
  • Builds nests out of leaves.
  • Common in oak-hickory woodlands, wooded parks and neighborhoods throughout Kansas.
black tailed prairie dog34
Black-tailed Prairie Dog
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents
  • Live in the western half of Kansas, on the High Plains
  • Known for their “barks” when the lookouts spot danger.
  • Live in complex network of burrows called “towns”.
  • Often they are poisoned out by landowners, but they provide critical habitat for many High Plains animals, such as spiders, salamanders, toads, box turtles, snakes and especially burrowing owls.
slide35
Mink

Taxidermy mount at Prairie Park Nature Center

Mink running video from Ken Highfill

slide36
Mink
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores
  • Small, weasel-like mammal.
  • Lives near streams and rivers.
  • Usually dark brown with a white chin-patch that can be hard to see.
  • Very common.
  • Feeds on fish, small mammals, birds, eggs, frogs, crayfish.
  • One of the most valuable fur animals.
muskrat39
Muskrat
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents
  • Tail long and thin, naked like a rat.
  • Lives in streams and ponds, wetlands.
  • Much smaller than beaver.
  • 2-4 lbs.
  • Builds conical houses out of marsh vegetation.
  • Eats aquatic plants.
  • Fur extremely soft, thick and waterproof if maintained.
opossum
Opossum
  • Order: Didelphimorphia, the opossums
  • The only marsupial in North America.
  • Has more teeth than any other Kansas mammal: 50!
  • Have prehensile tail that they use to grasp branches for balance (they do NOT hang upside down from their tails).
  • Female bears housefly-sized young that crawl across her belly and into the pouch and attach to a nipple, where they finish their development for the next two months.
  • The term “playing possum” refers to the opossums habit of freezing and/or passing out when startled, such as by a car, which is why so many get hit on the roads.
  • Opossums are currently being studied for the fact that they do not seem to carry the rabies virus.
raccoon
Raccoon

Taxidermy mount at Prairie Park Nature Center

raccoon43
Raccoon
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores.
  • 12-35 lbs. Size of small-med dog.
  • Very intelligent and inquisitive.
  • Feeds mostly along streams and lakes, omnivorous, prefers crawdads, eggs, insects, fruits.
  • Extremely sensitive hands—touches and feels things.
  • Very cute when young, but once they hit puberty, they will defend territory. Do NOT make good pets—illegal to keep.
  • 80% of raccoons in Kansas carry some type of communicable disease.
red fox45
Red Fox

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

red fox46
Red Fox
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores.
  • Has the appearance of a small dog.
  • Forest and open country is preferred.
  • Eats other animals from insects to rabbits, and berries and fruit.
  • Usually have more than one den and moves pups around.
  • Have a bounty on them in much of their range, but it should be removed as they do more good than harm overall.
striped skunk
Striped Skunk

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

striped skunk48
Striped Skunk

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

striped skunk49
Striped Skunk
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores
  • Scent glands located near base of tail.
  • Size of house cat.
  • Lives in semi-open country, prairie and brush.
  • Omnivorous: east grubs, berries, mice, eggs, insects, carrion.
  • Does not hibernate, is active all winter.
white footed mouse51
White-footed Mouse
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents.
  • Lives in prairies, woodlands, many habitats.
  • Nests on ground, but sometimes in trees.
  • Important part of the cycle for Lyme disease and can also carry other diseases communicable to humans.
  • Important prey item for many animals.
woodchuck55
Woodchuck
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents.
  • a.k.a. Groundhog or Marmot.
  • 5-10 lbs.
  • Habitat is open woods, brushy and rocky ravines.
  • Feeds on tender plants.
  • Burrow with 2 or more openings, may be 4-5 feet deep and 25-30 feet long.
  • Other openings are dug from below and concealed on surface.
porcupine59
Porcupine
  • Order: Rodentia, the rodents.
  • Weigh 27-33 lbs.
  • Have quills on back, rump and tail, but not on belly.
  • When threatened, they arch their back and slap the aggressor with quills on tail.
  • Live up to 20 years in wild.
  • Live in wooded areas of central and southwestern Kansas.
  • Feeds on cottonwood trees, alfalfa, corn, grasses, forbs.
white tailed deer63
White-tailed Deer
  • Order: Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates
  • Habitat is forests, open brushy areas, forest edge.
  • Eats twigs, shrubs, fungi, acorns, green vegetation.
  • Most important big game mammal in East.
  • More here now than ever before due to increase in edge habitat and elimination of predators, and safety and cover in urban areas.
  • Many starve in winter due to overpopulation.
  • Deer populations should be thinned out (by hunting) because there is not enough food for them all, so many starve in winter. Also they eat many of the oaks and hickory nuts and saplings, changing the structure of our forests and they out compete many other native animals who depend on the oak-hickory forest.
pronghorn66
Pronghorn
  • Order: Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates
  • Often called antelope.
  • Can run up to 60 miles per hour.
  • Rarely jump fences, but prefer to crawl under them.
  • Found in the western quarter of Kansas.
nine banded armadillo
Nine-banded Armadillo

Yes, this armadillo is dead, however this is mostly how they are seen here in Kansas. They get hit at night on the roads. The body decomposes, but the “shell” can stay around for a long time.

nine banded armadillo69
Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Order: Xenarthra, the Armadillos
  • Have two immovable plates near head and tail that are connected by nine movable, smaller plates. Head and tail are also armored.
  • Feed at night, primarily on earthworms, larvae and insects, eggs, birds, fruit.
  • Live up to 4 years in wild.
  • When they are startled they jump straight up into the air. Often are hit by cars.
  • Habitat is in shrubs and woodlands. Is expanding its range north, and now can be found in summers as far north as southern Nebraska, possibly as a result of global warming. (Many animals and plants are expanding their ranges due to warmer temperatures).
american bison71
American Bison
  • Order: Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates.
  • The heaviest land mammal native to North America, weighing 900-2,000 lbs.
  • Prior to settlement, there were an estimated 60 million.
  • Major resource for the Great Plains Indians, providing food, clothing, shelter, fuel, tools and dozens of other items.
  • Last wild bison in Kansas was killed in 1879, north of Elkhart.
  • Public and private captive herds are scattered across Kansas.
  • Can live up to 30 years.
mountain lion
Mountain Lion

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

mountain lion73
Mountain Lion
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores.
  • Classified as “presently extinct” in Kansas, although sightings are not uncommon.
  • Originally ranged throughout Kansas, especially southern part of the state.
  • Deer make up 65-80 percent of prey, porcupines 20 percent, and other mammals make up the rest.
  • Territories range from 3-15 square miles.
  • Last confirmed mountain lion in Kansas taken in Ellis County in 1904.
river otter
River Otter

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

river otter75
River Otter
  • Order: Carnivora, the carnivores.
  • At one time River Otters were distributed along all the major rivers and many permanent streams throughout Kansas.
  • 60 percent of diet is fish, although they’ll also eat voles, muskrat, voles, frogs, insects, worms, etc.
  • Like other members of the Mustelidae family, River Otters have anal musk glands which are used if the otter is threatened.
black tailed jackrabbit
Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

black tailed jackrabbit77
Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Taxidermy mount at KU Natural History Museum

black tailed jackrabbit78
Black-tailed Jackrabbit
  • Order: Lagomorpha, rabbits and hares.
  • Although referred to as a rabbit, is actually classified as a hare because of its long ears and feet, and precocial young.
  • The black tailed jack rabbit is found throughout the state, but is more common on the prairies of western Kansas. Open prairie or fields of short cultivated grasses are preferred to brush or fields of tall cultivated crops.
  • Food of the black-tailed jack rabbit consists of grasses, herbage, and any available green vegetation. In winter more dry vegetation is consumed, including cacti, shrubs, and the bark of trees. Most of their water is obtained from plants.
references
References
  • A Pocket Guide to Common Kansas Mammals, by George Potts and Bob Gress
  • Mammals of Kansas Website- http://www.ksr.ku.edu/libres/Mammals_of_Kansas/list.html#cat