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Mammals in Massachusetts

List of mammals found in Massachusetts

Didelphimorphia

Didelphidae (New World Opossums)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.

Sirenia

Trichechidae (Manatees and Dugongs)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
West Indian Manatee Trichechus manatus Accidental. Coastal Barnstable and Bristol counties, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2016.

Rodentia

Sciuridae (Tree Squirrels and Marmots)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Eastern Gray Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis Statewide. Recently introduced to Nantucket County.
Red Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Northern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys sabrinus Historically from northeastern, central, and western Massachusetts. No records since 1968.Most historical records are unverified or erroneous. Listed as a species of greatest conservation need.
Southern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys volans Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Woodchuck Marmota monax Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Eastern Chipmunk Tamias striatus Statewide except Nantucket County.

 

Castoridae (American Beaver)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
American Beaver Castor canadensis Northeastern, central, and western Massachusetts. Occasional in southeastern Massachusetts.

 

Dipodidae (Jumping Mice)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Woodland Jumping Mouse Napaeozapus insignis Occurs west of a line from Mt. Watatic in western Middlesex County, through Mt. Wachusett in Worcester County, to the Holyoke Range in Hampshire/Hampden counties.
Meadow Jumping Mouse Zapus hudsonius Statewide.

 

Cricetidae (Mice, Voles, and Lemmings)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Woodland Vole Microtus pinetorum Western, central, and northeastern Massachusetts. Records from the 3 southeastern mainland counties are suspicious until verified. Absent from Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Southern Red-backed Vole Myodes gapperi Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Common Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus Statewide except Nantucket County.
Southern Bog Lemming* Synaptomys cooperi Reported from Franklin, Hampshire, Plymouth, and Worcester counties.  Probably more widespread than presently known. Listed as a species of special concern.
Allegheny Woodrat Neotoma magister Extirpated; 1 specimen trapped in Berkshire County in 1958.
White-footed Deermouse Peromyscus leucopus Statewide.
North American Deermouse Peromyscus maniculatus Known with certainty from Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire counties. Easily confused with the white-footed deermouse. Specimens outside the above range need verification.
Meadow Vole Microtus pennsylvanicus Statewide.

 

Muridae (Old World Rats and Mice)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
House Mouse Mus musculus Introduced. Statewide except for Martha's Vineyard island, where it allegedly once occurred.
Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus Introduced. Statewide
Black Rat Rattus rattus Introduced, now eradicated; last records 1931 (Worcester County) and 1939 (Hampden County).

 

Erethizontidae (New World Porcupines)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
North American Porcupine Erethizon dorsatum Northeastern, central, and western Massachusetts. Records from Barnstable and Plymouth counties probably represent translocations.

Lagomorpha

Leporidae (Hares and Rabbits)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Black-tailed Jackrabbit Lepus californicus Introduced, now eradicated; imported to Nantucket County on four occasions between 1889 and 1975. Several other short-lived introductions in Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, and Plymouth counties between 1890s and 1940s failed.
Snowshoe Hare Lepus americanus Probably statewide historically, but largely replaced by many introductions from out of state since 1891. Now statewide in local habitat patches, but status in Dukes, Nantucket, and Suffolk counties is unclear.
European Hare Lepus europaeus Introduced to Berkshire County prior to 1930s. Apparently eradicated by the 1930s. Allegations that these hares were released on Martha’s Vineyard are based on a taxonomic misunderstanding.
European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Introduced between the 1920s and 1940s. Now eradicated. Many short-lived introductions of “San Juan rabbits” quickly failed. Last remaining feral populations existed on some Boston Harbor islands but disappeared by 2013.
Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus Statewide. Introduced, primarily from the Midwest, between 1900 and 1940s, primarily Sylvilagus floridanus mallurus and Sylvilagus floridanus alacer (mearnsi).
New England Cottontail Sylvilagus transitionalis Formerly statewide, but now restricted to parts of Barnstable, Berkshire, Hampden, Nantucket, and Plymouth counties (also possible on Martha’s Vineyard). Extirpated from Dukes and Nantucket counties. Listed as a species of greatest conservation need.

Soricomorpha

Soricidae (Shrews)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Northern Short-tailed Shrew Blarina brevicauda Statewide.
Cinereus (Masked) Shrew Sorex cinereus Statewide.
Long-tailed Shrew* Sorex dispar Berkshire County. Listed as a species of special concern.
Smoky Shrew Sorex fumeus Central and western Massachusetts.
American Pygmy Shrew Sorex hoyi Berkshire County (one specimen in 1991).
American Water Shrew* Sorex palustris Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties. Listed as a species of special concern.

 

Talpidae (Moles and Shrew-Moles)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Star-nosed Mole Condylura cristata Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Hairy-tailed Mole Parascalops breweri Northeastern, central, and western Massachusetts. Absent from the three southeastern mainland counties, and Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Eastern Mole Scalopus aquaticus Southern Connecticut River Valley; Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket and southern Plymouth counties.

Chiroptera

Vespertilionidae (Vesper Bats)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Big Brown Bat Eptesicus fuscus Statewide. 
Eastern Red Bat Lasiurus borealis Migratory. May occur statewide.
Hoary Bat Lasiurus cinereus Migratory. May occur statewide.
Tricolored Bat* Pipistrellus subflavus Statewide. Listed as endangered
Silver-haired Bat Lasionycteris noctivagans Migratory. May occur statewide.
Eastern Small-footed Bat* Myotis leibii Berkshire, Hampden, and Middlesex counties. May be overlooked elsewhere.  Listed as endangered.
Little Brown Bat* Myotis lucifugus Statewide. Listed as endangered.
Northern Long-eared Bat* Myotis septentrionalis Statewide. Listed as endangered in Massachusetts and threatened at the federal level.
Indiana Bat* Myotis sodalis Last recorded in 1939 from Hampden county. Alleged records from Berkshire and Worcester counties lack credibility. Listed as endangered in Massachusetts and at the federal level.

Carnivora

Felidae (Cats)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Domestic Cat Felis catus Statewide. Feral cats are often found in colonies subsidized by people.
Canadian Lynx Lynx canadensis Extirpated; 13 records between 1820 and 1937; the five most credible from Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties. Two records in 1991 were wandering lynx from a New York released. Listed federally as threatened.
Bobcat Lynx rufus Northeastern, central, and western Massachusetts. Occasional in southeastern Massachusetts.

Cougar (Mountain Lion)

Puma concolor Extirpated; six records from 1680 to 1858; last record 1858 from Hampshire County. Almost all recent records are misidentifications or spurious. One confirmed scat (1997) and trail of tracks (2011), both in Franklin County. 

 

Canidae (Dogs, Foxes, and Wolves)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Coyote Canis latrans Statewide including Elizabeth Islands, but absent from Nantucket County and Martha's Vineyard island. Two live coyotes were confirmed on Martha’s Vineyard in 2014 and 2019 but did not survive.
Gray Wolf Canis lupus Extirpated by 1840. A record from 1918 is undoubtedly an escaped captive. One record vagrant from Canada killed in Franklin County in 2007. Listed federally as endangered as Canis lupus lycaon.  Endangered in Massachusetts by inclusion of the federal list.
Domestic Dog Canis lupus familiaris Statewide; now rarely feral although owned free-ranging dogs are somewhat common.
Gray Fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
North American Red Fox Vulpes vulpes Statewide including the Elizabeth islands, but absent from Nantucket County and Martha's Vineyard island.

 

Ursidae (Bears)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
American Black Bear Ursus americanus Western, central, and northeastern Massachusetts. Occasional dispersers into southeastern Massachusetts, including one male which crossed the Cape Cod Canal in 2012, travelled to Provincetown and back to Wellfleet before being captured and transported to central Massachusetts.

 

Phocidae (Earless Seals)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Hooded Seal Cystophora cristata Extremely rare in Massachusetts. Young-of-the-year are uncommon visitors from the far north. Adults are very rare. May occur in any coastal town.
Bearded Seal Erignathus barbatus Extremely rare in Massachusetts. One adult female in Gloucester, Essex County in 2002.
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus All coastal counties, but especially Barnstable and Nantucket where pups are born.
Harp Seal Pagophilus groenlandicus All coastal counties. Young-of-the-year visiting from the far north are fairly common, adults are rare.
Harbor Seal Phoca vitulina All coastal counties. Year round.
Ringed Seal Pusa hispida Extremely rare in Massachusetts. Occasionally will enter Massachusetts waters from far north. Less than 10 records.

 

Mustelidae (Weasels, Minks, Martens, and Otters)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
North American River Otter Lontra canadensis Statewide except Nantucket and Suffolk counties.
Wolverine Gulo gulo Extirpated. One record from western Massachusetts prior to 1835.
American Marten Martes americana Extirpated. Occurred in western Massachusetts, east to central and northern Worcester County. Last record, 1880. One record in 1992 was a probable disperser from a Vermont release; another in 1993 was a probable escape from a fur farm.
Fisher Martes pennanti Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Ermine Mustela erminea Possibly statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties, but less common than the long-tailed weasel and records in southeastern Massachusetts require verification.
Long-tailed Weasel Mustela frenata Statewide except Dukes and Nantucket counties.
American Mink Neovison vison Statewide except Nantucket County.  Recently rediscovered on Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Mephitidae (Skunks)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis Statewide except Nantucket County. Recently re-introduced on Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Procyonidae (Raccoons, Coatis, Ringtails)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Raccoon Procyon lotor Statewide except Nantucket County.

Artiodactyla

Cervidae (Deer, Elk, and Moose)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Moose Alces americanus Resident in northeastern, central, and western Massachusetts. Vagrants may occur in southeastern Massachusetts.
Elk Cervus elaphus Extirpated. The sole record of live elk was from Worcester County in 1732.
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus Statewide.
Fallow Deer Dama dama Introduced to Dukes County in 1932, 1938 and 1968. Last reported in mid-1970s; now eradicated.

Cetacea

Balaenidae (Right and Bowhead Whales)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
North Atlantic Right Whale* Eubalaena glacialis Particularly frequent in Cape Cod Bay and off Race Point, Provincetown in late winter through spring. Listed as endangered both in Massachusetts and at the federal level.
Bowhead Whale Balaena mysticetus One individual seen in Cape Cod Bay feeding with Northern Right Whales in March 2012 and April 2014. Listed as endangered at the federal level.

 

Balaenopteridae (Rorqual Whales)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata Frequently seen off the coast of Essex, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties in spring through mid-fall.
Sei Whale* Balaenoptera borealis Seen infrequently off the coast of Essex and Barnstable counties in spring through fall of some years. Listed as endangered both in Massachusetts and at the federal level.
Blue Whale* Balaenoptera musculus Rarely seen off Essex and Barnstable counties in summer through fall. Rarely ventures onto the continental shelf. Records in state waters are questionable. Listed as endangered both in Massachusetts and at the federal level.
Fin Whale* Balaenoptera physalus Seen mainly off the coast of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Barnstable counties in spring through late summer. Listed as endangered in both Massachusetts and at the federal level.
Humpback Whale* Megaptera novaeangliae The most common large whale along the coast, sometimes seen close to shore. Enters local feeding grounds in spring through fall. Listed as endangered.

 

Delphinidae (Dolphins and Pilot Whales)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis Rarely seen near shore, mainly seen off the coast of Essex, Barnstable, and Nantucket counties, on Stellwagon Bank and Jeffries Ledge, and in Cape Cod Bay July through December.
Short-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala macrorhynchus Rarely seen, typically found farther south. Strandings in 1980, 2011, and 2019 in Plymouth, Barnstable, and Dukes counties.
Long-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala melas Rarely seen near shore, mainly off the coast of Essex, Barnstable, and Nantucket counties, or in Cape Cod Bay July through December.  
Risso's Dolphin Grampus griseus Seen mainly off the coast of Essex, Barnstable, and Nantucket counties. Typically, in deep water along the edge of the continental shelf.
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin Lagenorhynchus acutus Rarely seen near shore, mainly seen off the coast of Essex, Barnstable, and Nantucket counties, on Stellwagon Bank and Jeffries Ledge, and sometimes in Cape Cod Bay.  
White-beaked Dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris Typically found farther north. Less than 30 records, mainly off the coast of Essex and Barnstable counties.
Killer Whale Orcinus orca Typically found farther north. About 12 records, including five strandings, mostly in Barnstable, Nantucket, and Dukes counties.
False Killer Whale Pseudorca crassidens Two strandings; One in Provincetown before 1950, and the other in Barnstable in August 1997. Typically, farther south in deep water along the edge of the continental shelf.
Pantropicial Spotted Dolphin Stenella attenuata One group of 3-5 stranded multiple time in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Barnstable counties in September 1979. Typically, farther south in deep water along the edge of the continental shelf.
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Stenella frontalis One juvenile stranded in Barnstable County in 2003. A possible second animal had stranded earlier on Martha’s Vineyard. Typically, in deep water along the edge of the continental shelf.
Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba Rarely seen, mainly off the coast of Essex, Barnstable, and Nantucket counties. Rarely ventures onto the continental shelf. Typically, in deep water along the edge of the continental shelf.
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus About 75 records, nearly all of which represent the large offshore stock. Two, seen many times in Plymouth Harbor, Barnstable Harbor, and Cape Cod Bay (1990-1992) may have been from the southern coastal stock. Typically, in deep water along the edge of the continental shelf.

 

 

Monodontidae (Belugas and Narwhals)

Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Beluga Delphinapterus leucas Typically found in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Canada and north. About 16 records, including 6 strandings.  

 

Phocoenidae (Porpoises)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Harbor Porpoise Phocoena phocoena May be seen anywhere along the coast, often near shore.

 

Physeteridae (Sperm and Pygmy Sperm Whales)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps Typically, in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. Just over 30 strandings, mainly in Essex, Barnstable, and Nantucket counties.
Dwarf Sperm Whale Kogia sima Typically found south of Massachusetts in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. Three strandings in 1991, 2009, and 2010.
Sperm Whale* Physeter catodon Typically, in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. At least 12 strandings. Listed as endangered both in Massachusetts and at the federal level.  

 

Ziphiidae (Beaked Whales)
Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Northern Bottlenose Whale Hyperoodon ampullatus Typically found north of Massachusetts in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. Three specimens from two strandings in 1869 and 1923 (2).
Sowerby's Beaked Whale Mesoplodon bidens Typically, in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. Five stranding records.
Blainville's Beaked Whale Mesoplodon densirostris Typically, in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. Two stranding records from 1898 and 1930.
Gervais' Beaked Whale Mesoplodon europaeus Typically, in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. Two strandings in 1997 and 2020.
Cuvier's Beaked Whale Ziphius cavirostris Typically, in deep water at the edge of the continental shelf, and beyond. Six stranding records.

 

Download the printable list of mammals found in Massachusetts here.

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