Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
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last updated: 02/20/2014
Oregon Species

Oregon Wildlife Species

Mammal Species of Oregon

Opossum | Shrews, Moles, and Shrew-moles | Bats | Pikas, Rabbits and Hares | Mountain beaver | Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Marmots | Pocket Gophers | Pocket Mice, Kangaroo Rats and Kangaroo Mouse | Beavers | Rats, Mice, Voles, Muskrats | Porcupines | Coyotes, Wolves and Foxes | Bears | Seals and Sea Lions | Ringtails and Raccoons | Weasels, Badgers, Otters and Skunks | Cats | Hoofed Mammals | Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises

Opossum - Family Opossums
Virginia Opossom
Virginia Opossum
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Opossum Didelphis virginiana

The Virginia Opossum is a cat-sized mammal with a pointed nose, unfurred, black, leathery ears with white edges; beady eyes; a hind foot with an opposable halux (big toe); and a naked scaly tail.

It was introduced in Oregon between 1910 and 1921. Populations were established in northwestern Oregon apparently from releases of animals brought to the state as pets or novelties.

Small streams, forest communities, and agricultural lands planted to a variety of crops are typical of many habitats occupied by Virginia Opossums in Oregon. They are active nocturnally, 2-3 hours after sunset, remaining active for 9 hours or more, depending on the season.

Shrews, Moles, and Shrew-moles - Families Soricdae and Talpidae

Ten species of shrews and four species of moles currently are recognized in Oregon within two families:

The Family Soricidae is represented, in Oregon, by 10 species of long-tailed shrews. All are small (less than half the size of most species of mice) blackish or brownish mammals with minute eyes; 32 red-tipped teeth, and a pointed, somewhat proboscis-like nose.

The Family Talpidae is represented in Oregon by four species: three species of moles and the shrew-mole. All are dark gray or blackish animals with entirely white teeth. Moles are the size of small rats, robustly built with elongated snouts, superior nostrils, short limbs, forefeet widened and highly modified for digging, extremely small eyes, and a velvety pelage (coat). She shrew-mole is superficially shrew-like; however, the nostrils are directed laterally, the forelimbs are slightly modified for digging, and there are 26 white teeth,

Shrews and Moles

Bats - Families Vespertilionidae and Molossidae
California Myotis
California Myotis
-Photo by Michael Durham-

The bats in Oregon are represented by 15 species in the families Molossidae (free-tailed bats) with on e species and Vespertilionide (evening bats) with the remaining 14 species. All are essentially entirely insectivorous; one species gleans insects from the ground, one cleans insects from leaves of trees or bushes, and the remainder forage on flying insects.

Look for them foraging for insects at dusk, especially near water. You may see their erratic and uneven flight on the lighted horizon. These little creatures can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour!


Pikas, Rabbits and Hares - Families Ochotonidae and Leporidae
black-tailed jackrabbit
Black-tailed Jackrabbit
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Two species of Picas occur in North America, (one in Oregon) and the remainder are distributed throughout most of Asia north of the Himalaya Mountains.

The Leporid family of mammals is represented, in Oregon, by a pygmy rabbit, three species of rabbits (two cottontails) and three hares (two jackrabbits). Members of the family are characterized by ears at least twice as long as wide; a visible, but short tail; and hind legs longer than the front legs. All are brownish or grayish with white, buff, or light gray underparts; some populations have entirely white pelages (collectively, the hair of a mammal) in winter.

Pikas, Rabbits and Hares

Mountain Beavers - Family Apolodontidae
Mountain Beaver
Mountain Beaver

Mountain Beaver Aplodontia rufa

The Mountain Beaver is a medium-sized muskrat-like rodent often lacking a visible tail. However, the mountain beaver has an extremely short, fur-covered tail, and otherwise differs from the muskrat by possessing five-toed feet. It is dark brown with a small white spot at the base of each ear.

In Oregon it occurs in forested areas on the west slope of the Cascade Range west to the Pacific Ocean. It is absent from the interior valleys.

Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Marmots - Family Sciuridae
Chipmunk - Deschutes National Forest

Except for the Murids (rats, mice), the squirrels are the most diverse family of mammals in Oregon; 21 species grouped into six genera are represented in the state. The family includes a marmot, nine ground squirrel, five chipmunks, five tree squirrels, and a flying squirrel.

The marmot is characterized by its large size and a dark bar across the nose. The ground squirrels can be recognized by the absence of stripes on the face. Tree squirrels also lack facial stripes but is unique in its possession of a fur-covered membrane between its fore- and hind limbs. Chipmunks have stripes on the face.

Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Marmots

Pocket Gophers - Family Geomyidae
Northern Pocket Gophe
Northern Pocket Gopher

In Oregon, the Family Geomyd is represented by five species of pocket gophers.

Members of the family are characterized by short, nearly naked tails; external, fur-lined pouches opening laterally to the mouth; and small ears, beady eyes and lips that close behind the incisors. The shoulders are powerfully built and the hips slim. The front feet are equipped with long claws for digging. All teeth are rootless and ever-growing.

Pocket Gophers

Pocket Mice, Kangaroo Rats and Kangaroo Mouse - Family Heteromyd
Dusky Footed Woodrat
Dusky Footed Woodrat

The Family Heteromyid is represented by two species of pocket mice, three species of kangaroo rats and one species of kangaroo mouse.

All have fur-lined cheek pouches that open alongside the mouth; long hind feet and tails; and soft, silky fur. They are usually buffy gray or tan. The molarlike teeth of kangaroo rats are also ever-growing.

Pocket Mice, Kangaroo Rats and Kangaroo Mouse

Beavers - Family Castoridae
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

American Beaver Castor canadensis

The beaver, the largest rodent in North America, commonly weighs in excess of 25 kg. The beaver is highly modified for aquatic life; the body is compact; the legs are short with unguiculate feet; the hind feed are webbed and the claws on the first and second toes are split and function in grooming; the ears and eyes are small; and the ears and nostrils are valvular. Underwater, membranes cover the eyes. The paddle-like tail is broad, scaly and nearly without hairs. The thick underfur is overlain with coarse guard hairs; overall, the pelage (coat) is dark brown dorsally (on its back) shading to a lighter brown ventrally (on it's undersides). The tail and feet are blackish brown. There is a single annual molt.

In Oregon the beaver occurs in suitable habitats throughout the state. It is almost always associated with riparian or lacustrine habitats bordered by a zone of trees, especially cottonwood and aspen, willow, alder and maple. Small streams with a constant flow of water that meander through relatively flat terrain in fertile valleys and are subject to being dammed seem especially productive of beavers.

They are powerful swimmers; propulsion is largely by use of the webbed hind feet and tail as the front feet are held close under the chin. The tail is also used to maneuver in the water. On land, the beaver is a clumsy waddler. Of all the beaver's behavioral characteristics, non, doubtlessly, is as legendary as its ability to cut trees for food or construction of dams and lodges. Beavers live in colonies composed of family groups usually consisting of a mated pair of adults, their yearlings, and their young-of-the-year, although occasionally groups may contain individuals over 24 months old other than the mated pair. Pairing is commonly considered monogamous and long term.

Beavers are most active in the evening or at night but they can sometimes be observed engaging in various activities at any hour. Beavers do not hibernate, although activity during winter may not be conspicuous because it is largely beneath the ice.

Living with Beaver

Rats, Mice, Voles, Muskrats - Families Muridae and Dipodidae
Dusky Footed Woodrat
Dusky Footed Woodrat

The Family Muridae compose the most diverse family of mammals, 18.35% of the 136 species of mammals in Oregon. Three subspecies occur in Oregon:

Sigmodontinae, "New World Rats and Mice," are are characterized by membranous, nearly naked ears, and beady, protruding eyes.

Murinae includes "Old World Rats and Mice." Three of this species came to North America with the early voyagers to this continent and all three are established in Oregon. They are characterized by their relatively small size and scaly, nearly hairless tails.

Arvicolinae, Voles and Muskrats, are characterized by ears that are furred and partially hidden by the long hairs that originate in front of them, and small beady eyes. Except for the Muskrat, all are small and all have tails about 65% the length of the head and body.

The Family Dipodiae is represented, in Oregon, by two species of jumping mice. These are small rodents that possess exceptionally long hind legs and feet, hindquarters modified for jumping, and exceptionally long, thin, tails.

Rats, Mice, Voles, Muskrats

Porcupines - Family Erethizontidae
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Common Porcupine Erethizon dorsatum

The porcupine is a large, short-legged rodent with up to 30,000 bared-tipped quills (modified hairs) covering the upper parts of the body and the dorsal and lateral surfaces of the tail. The quills are scattered among much longer, course guard hairs; the underfur is woolly. The quills are arranged in rows across the body, the longest quills are on the rum, the shortest on the face. Quills used in defense are replaced commencing about 10-42 days after loss. The overall color of the porcupine is dark brown or blackish. The front feet have four toes, the rear feet five; all have strong, curved claws. The soles are naked.

In Oregon, the porcupine is found throughout most of the state east of the Cascade Range. West of the Cascade it is found in only a few scattered localities. Porcupine attains its greatest abundance in mixed coniferous and hardwood forests.

Porcupines do not hibernate and are active throughout the year. Activity is mostly nocturnal or crepuscular, but those feeding in trees may be observed at any time as they usually do not retire do dens during the daylight hours. Some use is made of dens in winter.

Porcupines make a variety of vocalizations and sounds with the teeth, some which can be heard at considerable distance. They seemingly are intelligent and are able to learn quickly; they have good memories and especially remember being mistreated.

Coyotes, Wolves and Foxes - Family Canidae
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Five species of Canidae occur in Oregon.
The Canids are medium-sized carnivores with long, bushy tails; pointed noses; pointed erect ears; long slender legs, short, nonretractile claws and well-developed carassial teeth.

Canids are efficient, highly cursorial predators; they often exhibit extraordinary endurance in the pursuit of prey. Some species hunt in packs, others singly or in pairs. The senses of smell and hearing are amazingly acute; they can detect prey or danger at great distances.

Coyotes, Wolves and Foxes

Bears - Family Ursidae
Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Only one species of Ursidae occurs in Oregon, the Black Bear. This bear is a large, heavy-bodied, and stocky-legged carnivore. It has short rounded and erect ears; extremely abbreviated tail; and long, recurved claws. The skull is massive.

Bears tend to be solitary except for females with young and during the mating season. Although bears commonly move with a slow, shuffling gait, they can be surprisingly agile and capable of rapid movements.


Seals and Sea Lions - Families Otariidae and Phocidae
Harbor Seal
Harbor Seal - Waldport
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Within the Family Otariidae, two species of "Eared Seals" occur in Oregon, the California Sea Lion and the Stellar Sea Lion. A third species, the Fur Seal is primarily pelagic, but on rare occasions comes ashore along the Oregon coast. Otariids are characterized by hind flippers that can be turned forward beneath the body to facilitate terrestrial locomotion.

Within the family Phocidae, "Hair Seals," the Harbor Seal and the Northern Elephant Seal occur in Oregon. These seals are characterized by the inability to rotate the hind limbs beneath the body.

Seals and Sea Lions

Ringtails and Raccoons - Family Procyonidae
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

The Family Procyonidae is represented in Oregon by the Raccoon and the Ringtail.

Both of these species have distinctive facial markings, 40 teeth, rounded, erect ears and bushy, banded tails.

They are omnivorous, largely nocturnal, partly arboreal, and commonly associated with habitats near water.

Ringtails and Raccoons


Weasels, Badgers, Otters and Skunks- Families Mustelidae and Mephitadae

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

The Family Mustelidea includes weasels, otters, badger, wolverine, mink, fisher and martin. Nine species occur in Oregon. All are small to medium-sized, pentadactyl carnivores with short muzzles, relatively short legs, and small rounded ears. Most mustelids are efficient predators.

In Oregon, the Family Mephitids consists of two species of skunks. Both are black with white stripes or stripes broken into linear series of spots. Both species are equipped with muscle-encapsulated anal scent glands capable of propelling musk toward approaching enemies.

Weasels, Badgers, Otters and Skunks

Cats - Family Felidae
Oregon Fish and Wildlife

The Family Felidae is represented in Oregon by the Mountain Lion, the Bobcat, and the Lynx.

All Felids are digitigrade with five toes on the forefeet and four on the hind feet; each toe is equipped with a sharp, recurved, and retractile claw. The incisors are small, chisel-like, and set in a straight line, the canines are long, sharp, and recurved. The eyes are relatively large, and the tongue is covered with horny, recurved papillae.


Hoofed Mammals - Families Cervidae, Antilocapridae, and Bovidae
Pronghorn Antelope
Pronghorn Antelope
Oregon Fish and Wildlife

The Order Cartiodactyla is represented in Oregon by three families and seven species.

These hooved mammals are characterized by the main axis of the foot aligned between the third and fourth digits. In all forms that occur in Oregon, the digits terminate in hooves.

The stomach is four chambered and digestion involves rumination. Antlers or horns are present, except in some females and younger cohorts. All are herbivorous.

Hoofed Mammals


Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises
Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale


Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises

Sources: Land Mammals of Oregon by B.J. Verts and Leslie N. Carraway

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. S.E.   ::   Salem, OR 97302   ::    Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW   ::   www.dfw.state.or.us

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