Mammals Index Page

Mexican Gray Wolf






Black-footed Ferret


River otter

Black Bear


Kit Fox

Desert Cottontail

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

Silver haired Bat

Pronghorn antelope

White tailed deer

Mule Deer




Plains Pocket Mouse





Western spotted skunk

Striped Skunk

Least chipmunk

Cliff Chipmunk

Harris’ Antelope squirrel

Rock Squirrel

White footed mouse

Masked Shrew

Virginia opossum


Desert Shrew

Red Squirrel

Swift Fox

Western red bat

Ord’s Kangaroo Rat

Abert squirrel

American Badger

Mexican Woodrat

Gray Fox

Piñon Deer mouse

Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Anita SdeArmijo 


Species common name(s):  Mexican Wolf, el lobo

Scientific Name: Canis lupus baileyi

   Wolf Pic  

 Range: Throughout the Southwest but more toward Mexico.


Habitat: They prefer mountain forests, shrub lands, and grasslands.


Physical Description: Mexican wolves are the smallest sub species of the Grey Wolf. The height is a maximum of 32” and no greater than 4.5 ft. Their coat is a combo of brown, gray, rust, and tan. The tail, legs, and ears are often highlighted in black.


Main foods: They eat mainly deer and elk in the wild. The wolf may also eat livestock, pronghorn, rabbits, javelins, and other small mammals.


Behavior: There are usually 5 or 6 wolves in a pack, mainly the alpha pair and their offspring of that year. Packs rarely encounter each other because of the boundaries formed though howling and sent marking.


Niche: Carnivorous, preys on deer, antelope, javelins, rabbits, and small mammals, as well as carrion. The pack size is smaller than northern packs.


Interactions with other species: Mexican Wolves will kill coyotes, and cougars will kill the wolves. They also have deadly interactions with humans. A pack of Mexican Wolves have been reintroduced to Western Mew Mexico and Eastern Arizona.


Threats to the species: Humans and habitat destruction are the major threats to the Mexican Wolves.





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico


Page Author: Angie Del Frate

Common Name:   Mexican Grey Wolf

Scientific Name: Canis lupus baileyi



Range: The Mexican Grey wolf ranges through the western part of New Mexico (also Mexico and Arizona), through forested areas, to shrub lands.


Habitat:  Mexican grey wolves prefer the oak and pine/juniper savannahs and mixed conifer woodlands above 4,000 feet, and would avoid desert areas


Physical Description: The Mexican gray wolf is a large dog-like carnivore, weighing between sixty and eighty pounds. Their coat is colored reddish brown, tan, black, and gray, with a whitish chin and throat.


Main Foods: Depending on the area the wolf lives, in a pack, they can take down deer, javelina, sheep, antelope and even cattle, while alone, will hunt out smaller mammals, like rabbits, mice, ground birds, etc.


Behavior: Wolves live in packs, ranging from a small family group of 3 or 4, to large packs of 10 or more. Wolves interact using body language, such as the position of their ears, tail, neck, and facial expressions, as well as barks, yips, snarls, and howls. The pack always has an alpha male and female, who are they only ones allowed to mate, and will go to great lengths to keep their status.


Niche: Wolves take the sick, weak and old animals, while hunting, making it easier for them, and keeping that herd and population healthy and strong. For example, Wolves also play a strong role, in the riparian banks of Yellowstone. Where they wolf population would keep down the elk population, which would eat the tree saplings, not allowing them to grow, which would essentially lead to erosion.


Interactions with other species: Wolves would interact with their prey, and are rarely seen playing with small mammals, and have been known to kill coyotes and even mountain lions. They also rarely interact with other packs of wolves, unless threatened.


Threats to species: The Mexican grey wolf is actually an endangered species, and have threats of becoming extinct. This happened because of the bounty once put on wolves heads, and from ranchers killing them off.





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Carlos 


Species common name(s):Cougar, Mountain Lion, Puma, Catamount, Deer Tiger, Indian Devil

Scientific Name: Felis concolor


 Range: The Cougar is can be found in Canada/USA borders, Big Muddy River on the Alaska highway they can also be found on most coastal islands.


Habitat: The Cougar is found only in the Westernhemisphere of the Americas generally in mountainous areas 


Physical Description: The fur of this large cat is reddish-brown to grey brown with white on the underside and the tail is black tipped. The head is small, with rounded ears and they have large feet. The males weigh about 125 pounds and the females weigh about 100 pounds.


Main foods: They feed on large animals to mice; the cougar is capable of killing a 600 pound moose or elk.

Behavior: They like to stalk their prey by staying perched in trees waiting to pounce on their prey.The female has destinct scream thatthat has been described as “nerve-wracking, demoniac, terror-striking, a trilling wail.

Niche: Cougars are carnivores and need to eat no more than 14-20 mule deer per year to survive.  

Interactions with other species: They like to keep to themselves and usually don’t really bother unless they are hunting.


Threats to the species: The only threat, is shortage of food from hunters killing all their food. Roads and habitat encroachment





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico     Page Author: Jennifer Mansker


Species common name(s): Bobcat, Bay lynx, and Wildcat

Scientific Name: Lynx rufus

                      Bobcats - Pictures


 Range: The bobcats is found in the United States and in lower parts of Canada.


Physical Description: The most common color is yellowish to reddish brown, streaked and spotted with black. Its total length ranges from 22 ½ - 50 inches, and its weight from 10-40 pounds. The bobcat has short legs and a stubby black-tipped tail.


Habitat: Bobcats are mostly found in rocky, broken terrain, near foothils and canyonlands. Bobcats prefer  habitats with pinyon-juniper woodlands, and mountain forests. They avoid unbroken agricultural lands, and really crowded urban areas.


Main foods: The bobcat often eats rabbits and hare. They are known to eat more that 40 kinds of different prey including: deer, birds, reptiles and small animals, such as squirrels, mice, voles, and bats.

Behavior: The bobcat likes to lie on rocky ledges that face the south so that they can warm themselves in the sun. They are very fierce especially if they feel threatened in any way. The bobcat sneaks up on their prey; They attack larger prey (such as deer) while they are sleeping.

Niche: Bobcats keep down the population of rabbits, birds, reptiles, and small mammals by eating them.

Interactions with other species: Bobcats, as kittens are threatened by bigger animals (such as bears, coyotes, wolves, and others) because they eat them.


Threats to the species:  Habitat destruction and fragmentation. Hunting and trapping for their pelt is a big threat to them.


Internet Sources:

    Picture source:

      Book sources: Mammals of North America Ronald W. Kays & Don E. Wilson

                               Forest Cats of North America Jerry Kobalenko

                               Mammals of Arizona Donald F. Hoffmeister

Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Cody Schmit


Species common name(s): Jaguarundi. Jaguarondi, Otter Cat, Wieselkatze, Eyra, Gato Eyra, Gato Moro

Scientific Name: Herpailurus yagouarundi



Range (Gray Area): The jaguarundi is found as far north as Texas and New Mexico and extends all the way down to parts of South America


Habitat: This cat is generally doesn’t live above 2,000 meters.  He occupies dry scrub, swamps, savanna woodland, and primary forest.


Physical Description: The jaguarundi has an elongated slim body and head, short legs, and smooth unpatterned fur.  Adult’s weigh anywhere from 2-9 kg and can be black, brownish grey, and red.


Main foods:  The jaguarundi hunts ground-dwelling birds, small rodents, rabbits, arthropods, armadillos, fruit, and reptiles.  Sime of these cats even eat fish.

Behavior: Jaguarundi’s are flexible, agile swimmers and climbers.  They are generally quite individualistic but travel and hunt in pairs.

Niche: These cats have niche’s similar to those of the raccoon, otter, and weasel.  They are omnivorous animals.  Its predators are mainly man and larger carnivores.

Interactions with other species: The jagaurundi’s main predators are larger carnivores and man.  Jaguarundis compete for resources with other carnivores such as margays, ocelots, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and mountain lions.  Several parasites use jaguarundis as hosts including several species of tapeworms, hookworms, and acanthocephalans.


Threats to the species: Jaguarundi’s are threatened by loss of habitat and prey, pollution, and hunting because of the growing human world.





· - BEH

Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico          

Page Author: Sydney Saitta                          Species common name(s): Jaguar

Scientific Name: Panthera Conca   

 Range: Jaguar’s live in Texas, the Cerro Colorado Mountains in Arizona, the southern part of California, and New Mexico. They are also found in rain forests in Central and South America. The largest known population of Jaguar’s live in the Amazon forest.


Habitat: They prefer to live in lowland habitats, swampy savannas, forests, grasslands, and areas where there are lakes and rivers.  The primary habitats of the jaguar include the dense tropical rain forests of Central and South America. Their distribution ranges from the southwestern portion of the United States to South central Argentina. Their homes are made out of leaves, rotten trees, and other soft materials found on the floor of forests. They prefer to live alone because it is their territorial area.


Physical Description: Jaguars have a similar brownish/yellow fur color, which is marked with dark rose shaped markings that are either brown or black. They look like a circle of spots circling a central spot. They have a more muscular body and shorter tail than the leopard. Jaguars that live in dense forests tend to have a darker fur color than jaguars that live in grasslands and scrub forests. The darker color makes them camouflage with the surrounding terrain and give them an easier survival rate.


Main foods: The jaguar eats more than 80 different kinds of prey. If they live in grasslands they eat deer, tapirs, peccaries and capybaras. In forests, they hide in trees to capture monkeys, and birds. On the plains, they prey on sheep and cattle. They eat almost any kind of food that they can find.

Behavior: The jaguar is the fiercest animal in the cat family. The jaguar hunts for its food and attacks and kills its prey to eat. They swim in water to catch fish and turtles. When they locate herds of prey, they climb trees and pounce directly on the animal. The jaguar seizes its prey with its forelegs and kills it by biting its neck. Male and females do not associate with each other unless it is breeding season, which is in December and January.

Niche: The niche in the area where they live have been taken over by the leopard. They are carnivores, so they are at the top of the food chain. They attack and kill animals for food and reproduce during breeding season. They mainly live in forests and live alone for territortial reasons.

Interactions with other species: The jaguar is a main predator and carnivore, so all animals that they eat are in danger of being killed. Jaguars compete with each other to get food, if the food source is scarce.


Threats to the species:  Humans are the main threat to the jaguar. The jaguar is endangered because humans kill them for fur and farmers kill them because they kill their cattle. Over the years humans have also burned their homelands in Central and South America, cleared their grasslands, and have built cities. The smog also has an affect on their population because it burns the grasslands, which usually help them hide. The only natural predator is the Anaconda snake.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico          

Page Author: Monique Gonzales


Species common name(s): Lynx Canadensis (Canadian Lynx)


Scientific Name: Canadensis




Range: These animals possibly live in the northern mountains of New Mexico.


Habitat: This species can be found in the forest belt of North America.


Physical Description: The Canadian Lynx is a long legged and short tailed  wild feline.

Their apperance is simialer to a bobcat but they look like the are taller because of their long leggs, big feet and thick fur. Their fur is a tawny-gray color, their ear tuffs are black and tail are tipped balck as well. They have claws that help them climb, catch prey and fight.Their length is 3 ft.,height is 2 Ft. and their weight can range from 15-35 pounds.


Main foods: Their diet consists of mostly snowshoe hares but they also eat red squirrel, grouse and other small animals.

Behavior: The lynx are nocturnal animals and they usually hunt for their prey at night. The lynx attack and stalk their prey at a close range.

Niche: The Canadian Lynx are furbearing preaditors that have their population tied with the population of the snowshoe hare.

Interactions with other species:  The lynx have no predators with the exception of humans that hunt them for their fur.


Threats to the species: The biggest threat to the species is the decline in the population the snowshoe hair and traps from humans.


Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Rachael Rembold


Species common name(s): Black – Footed Ferret

Scientific Name: Mustela Nigripes


Range: The Balck – Footed Ferret is an endangered species in North America. It is found in a variety of states, which includes New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and other central states. It is the only ferret native to North America.


Habitat: The Black –Footed Ferret inhabits areas with hills, and short grass praries in North America. The Ferret need between 100 to 120 acres to search for its food and mother Ferrets need up to 140 acres to find for in order for her and her young to survive.


Physical Description: The Black – footed ferret has coat that is normally a base of white with spots of dark brown to black which runs down the back. The ferrets head is dark brown with a black mask over the eyes, black legs and the tips of their tails. The black – Footed ferret can grow to be about 20 – 24 inches long, with 5 of these inches being the tail. They wiegh about 2 ½ pounds. The males are normally slightly larger. These ferrets have long front legs for digging and are the only ferrets with a cleft chin.


Main foods: The Black – Footed ferret’s diet consists mainly of prarie dogs. The save the prarie dogs to eat over time. They eat about one prarie dog every 3 -4 days.

Behavior: The Black – Footed Ferret is nocturnal and will remain underground for 5-6 days at a time. The Black- Footed Ferret is very territorial and will defend its territory against other same sex species.

Niche: Black- Footed Ferrets are consumers, being predators to an animal that is about the same siz, the prarie dog. In turn they are eaten by larger animals at time, but remain safe spending most of their time underground. Because of their predators the Black- Footed Ferret is now an endangered creature The Black- Footed Ferret lives in abondoned Prarie Dog holes.

Interactions with other species: The Black- Footed Ferret is being killed of mainly by dogs and other member in the canine family. Besides eating prarie dogs, they are cut off from most other animals.


Threats to the species:  Habitat destruction of short grass lands, are a threat to the already endangered Black-Footed Ferret who depends on these old prarie dog homes for shelter.




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Jessica Pohl


Common names: long tailed weasel, weasel

Scientific name: Mustela frenata (long tailed weasel)


Long-tailed Weasel                                        

Range: The long-tailed weasel can be found in most of the United States, with the exception of south east California and Nevada and most of Arizona. It ca also be found in Canada, in British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. It is also found in Mexico and South America.


Habitat: The long-tailed weasel lives in many habitats including woodlands, thickets, open areas and farmland. It usually lives near a water source.


Physical description: The long-tailed weasel has a small head with long whiskers, and a long body and neck and short legs. Its tail has a black tip; it has brown fur on the upper part of its body and white to yellow fur on its undersides. In the northern parts of its range, the weasel turns white in the winter. Long-tailed weasels in the Southwest have a white mask.


Main foods: Most of its diet is made up of small mammals like mice, voles, rabbits, gophers and chipmunks. It will occasionally eat birds and insects.


Behavior: The long-tailed weasel is a solitary animal except on mating season. It lives in the abandoned burrows of other mammals; its nest is made of grass and leaves and lined with fur. The long-tailed weasel is mostly active in the night, but it also comes out in the day. It does not hibernate. The long-tailed weasel can climb trees and it is a good swimmer. It uses lots of different vocalizations including squeals, squeaks, trills and purrs. It is very aggressive when its territory is invaded.


Niche: The long-tailed weasel is a carnivore, they are low-level predators, and they feed on small mammals, they are also eaten by predators higher in the food web.


Interactions with other species: the long tailed weasel is preyed on by, King snakes, gopher snakes, foxes, bobcats, house cats, large hawks, and owls.


Threats to the species:  Man is the weasel's greatest enemy the weasels are taken for their pelts, even though the fur itself is not of great value.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Morganne Saitta

Species common name(s): River Otter

Scientific Name: Lutra canadensis (River otter)


Range: This species, the river otter, is found throughout the United States and Canada. They survive well in Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest of Canda, as well as the Great Lakes and the states along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico.


Habitat: River otters adapt to their surroundings by sometimes using lakes and ponds. They usually live along wooded areas and streams, and in marshes. Dens also provide a home for the river otter. They use dens from beavers, muskrats, and woodchucks.


Physical Description: River otter’s nose is diamond shaped, with two nostrils located at the bottom. Their ears and nose have a valve-like skin which closes and then allows them to be kept watertight when in water. Their feet have webbed feet with claws that enable them to swim, run and glide over ice in the winter time. River otters can reach up to 3-4 feet long and weigh around 15-25 pounds. Their coat on their back contains a wide range of colors, from black, reddish, or grayish brown. Their underside coat is usually silver, or grayish brown and their cheeks and throat are silver to yellow gray.


Main foods: The river otter’s diet mainly consists of fish, but they also eat frogs, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and sometimes small mammals, including muskrats.

Behavior: Once the otters have caught their pray, they use their mouths and forelimbs to keep and hold it in place. All river otters eat their pray head first, and when fish is eaten, all of the fish fins are left behind and are not eaten. In order for the otters to clean themselves after eating, they wipe their face and whiskers in the grass or snow.

Niche: The river otters are carnivores, which mean that they eat only meat. Since fish is the main source of food for the river otter, they catch them when they have easy access  to the school of fish.

Interactions with other species: Most of the river otter’s natural enemies are found in the water, but on land they are used as prey for the fox, wolf and raptors. Humans also are a threat because river otters are still hunted for their fur and coat.


Threats to the species:  The river otter’s threats include habitat destruction by adding pollutants and pesticides to their surroundings. Some of the specific pollutants are: dieldrin and polychlorinated biphenyl, mercury, and DDT. The river otter is located at the top of the food chain, so all of these harmful materials are able to reach and cause problems for the river otter. River otters are also being trapped accidentally in Beaver traps.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Chris Hellwege


Species common name(s): Black Bear, American Black Bear, and Brown Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus Thibetanus

Range: American black bears are found in Mexico, 32 states and occupy the shaded area of New Mexico above.


Habitat: Black bears are highly adaptable to different habitat types.  They are primarily found in the forested areas with lots of vegetation that have fruits, nuts, and vegetation.  Places where there’s water like streams, provide more vegetation.  Wooded areas with trees 20in. in diameter or bigger can be used for climbing.


Physical Description: Black bears are usually the same color all over except for a brown nose and white markings that sometimes appear on their chest.  Eastern populations are usually black, while western populations are brown. Male black bears are twice the size of female black bears.  They occasionally may weigh about 500-600 pounds, but average about 150-300 pounds.  Females average 90-150 pounds.


Main Foods: They will eat nuts and berries when available as an important food source.  They also eat a variety of plants, insects, small mammals, and dead animals when available.  In northern regions they eat salmon out of the stream.  They will occasionally kill young deer or moose calves.


Behavior: Black bears are stay to themselves.  The males and females come together to mate for a few hours or a few days.  The bears will gather food alone unless there’s a lot of food in one spot.  They hibernate to conserve energy during seasons with no food or water.


Niche: Black bears are omnivores.  They act as seed dispersers when they carry food away from a tree of bush.  They eat nuts, berries, plants, and small mammals


Interactions with other Species: They interact with salmon and young deer.  Sometimes hunters hunt the Black bear.  Black Bears are very timid and run away from humans and dogs.


Threats to the species:  In the U.S.A., most states have reported that habitat loss and habitat fragmentation were the major threats, there’s a few that get poached and some get road killed.





                Bears by Erwin A Bauer and photographs by Peggy Bauer





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Alissa Healy


Species common name(s): Black Bear


Scientific Name: Ursus americanus amblyceps (NM,AZ)


Range: The Black Bear is found in many places throughout North America. They are found in about thirty- two states in the U.S.  Black bears live in the more forested parts of the U.S. that are less inhabited by humans.


Taxonomy- Kingdom- Animalia, Phylum- Chordata, Class- Mammalia, Order-Carnivora,  Family- Ursidae, Genus- Ursus, species- Americanus


Habitat: They are mainly found in wooded areas. 


Physical Description: The majority of black bears are black, but there are the select few that are white (albino) and lighter shades, and are still considered black bears.


Main foods: About 75 percent of their diet is Plant matter, the other 25 percent is insects and small mammals.  They also like to eat honey.  They rarley kill large animals,but occasionally, they will kill a young deer or moose.

Behavior: Black Bear cubs stay with their mothers for about a year.  Black Bears spend a lot of their lives searching for food.   Black Bears hibernate for five to seven months out of the year

Niche and interactions with other species: Black Bears are omnivores, they have a great sense of smell, and so they can detect other animals before they can see them. They mainly are solitary animals.  Black bears do not have many predetors.  Their job is to  keep plants so that they don’t become overgrown.

Threats to the species:  One of the main threats to the black bear is poaching.  Also their loss of habitat is a threat to the black bear.  In some states, the black bears biggest threats are road-kills and over-harvesting.  Also human populations are harming the black bear population, when humans move into the woods, it takes away the bears’ home.





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico      Page Author: Morgan Powers


Species common name(s): Kit Fox

Scientific Name: Vuples macrotis




Range: The kit fox is found in Oregon to California. It occupies lowlands, valleys, and deserts.


Habitat: It’s common to grasslands, valley scrub, desert, oak woodlands, chaparral, and urban settings.


Physical Description: Length: 375-500mm. Tail length:225-323mm black-tipped. Average weight: males-2.2kg, females-1.9kg. Eyes: brown. Pelage: back gray, outer legs tan, nape of neck tan, belly grayish white.


Main foods: They are omnivorous; they eat small mammals, carrion, fish, and birds.


Behavior: Kit Foxes are nocturnal scavengers. Kit Foxes live in burrows that they dig or a den they have taken over. They raise a litter of 4-7 pups that live with the parents from spring to fall.


Niche: Its small size provides it with a niche not already occupied by other members of the dog family. The kit fox eats kangaroo rats, pocket mice, rabbits, reptiles, and insects.


Interactions with other species: Its large ears allow it to hear foot-drumming by a giant kangaroo rat or the screech of a wounded cottontail. Its large eyes enable the kit fox to see and hunt at night.


Threats to the species:  The Kit Fox is an endangered species. But there are about 4,500, enough to be researched. Because of industrial and urban growth in the area.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Diane Mitchell


Species common name(s): Coyote, coy dog, and trickster

Scientific Name: Canis latrans


 Range: Coyotes are found in the big areas of New Mexico and various other states


Habitat: Coyotes generally live in the lowlands and enjoy being around cottonwoods and rabbit brush. Grasslands and desert associated land with rocks and dirt.

Physical Description: Adults have grey coat with outward facing ears, forelegs, and feet that resemble a browinish or yellow color. The throat and belly are light grey. Black tipped tail. Head and body are 70-97 cm. Weight varies from 9-16 kg. Females are 20% smaller.

Main foods: Coyotes will eat almost anything if they’re hungry. Diet consists of squirrels, rabbits, livestock, rodents, insects, and even garbage.

Behavior: Usually found in breeding pairs or alone. Coyotes often times take over badger or woodchuck borrows.

Niche: Coyotes role in the ecosystem is clean up crew. Coyotes are also a helper in spreding the seeds of other plants and trees away from its orginal spot. Coyotes keep the rodent population down.

Interactions with other species: The coyote and the redfox have been seen fighting for food or other animals. The bobcat and coyote have been said to never come within 50 ft of one another. Also coyotes and rodents, in this situation it either ends up the coyote taking over or having this small animal for lunch. 


Threats to the species:  Many threats to the coyote species consist of humans catching and killing these animals. Also mountain lions and bears are predators to coyotes. Coyotes also may carry rabies.

Source: /species/050185.htm





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico                                                                 Page Author: Ryan Ross


Species common name(s): Cottontail, Desert Cottontail

  Scientific Name: Sylvilagus auduboni (Desert Cottontail)      


Range: Found throughout the Plains states from eastern Montana south to west Texas, west to central Nevada and southern California, and northern New Mexico. Found up to six thousand five hundred feet in elevation.


Habitat: Desert cottontails occur in a variety of habitats, including dry desert-like grasslands and shrub lands, and pinion-juniper forests.  


Physical Description:The adult desert cottontail is light colored, tan to gray. The underside of the cottontail is whitish. The tail is rounded and looks like a cotton ball .The length of a desert cottontail is thirteen to seventeen inches. Their ears average three to four inches long and the average weight is two to three pounds. Females are larger than the males.


Main foods: Cottontails are herbivores, so they eat a wide variety of plants, including grasses, forbs, shrubs and even cacti. Ninety percent of their diet is grass, but cottontails will forage on domestic crops, or even the bark of fruit trees. During the winter desert cottontails eat twigs and oak bark, since grasses and shrubs are in low supply.


Behavior:  During the day, cottontails rest in the shades of large shrubs or in burrows. In the hot months of summer, they conserve moisture and energy by avoiding activity during the hot daylight hours. The cottontail may have as many as three liters of young a year, a liter being from one to six youth. Cottontails have been known to climb trees and even swim across rivers to escape predators. The average life span for a cottontail is two years.  Desert cottontails rarely stray far from their birthplace area.

Niche: A number of predators, including eagles, great horned owls, hawks, coyotes, foxes, bobcats and humans prey upon cottontails. The desert cottontail eats many grasses and shrubs so it keeps the level of vegetation to a minimum.

Interactions with other species: The cottontail is the main food source for coyotes, foxes and hawks.  Younger cottontail are eaten by larger snakes, such as the rattlesnake. Cottontails may not interact with their neighbors, but they tolerate closer neighbors than most over rabbits do.


Threats to the species:  Habitat destruction has led to a decline in the number of desert cottontails in the wild. Over hunting of cottontail by natural predators have lead to the decrease of the cottontail population.


Sites used for information



Picture above provided by Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico   Page Author: James Mora


Species common name(s): Black-tailed jackrabbit       Scientific Name: Lepus insularis                                                                        

 Range: Balck-tailed jackrabbits prefer the desert. Black-tailed jackrabbits inhabit all four deserts in the southwest.



Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordate

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Lagomorpha

Family: Leporidae

Genus: Lepus



Habitat: Black-tailed jackrabbits are most abundant in valleys, adjoining lower slopes of  the hills. They are also found in rocky hills and lower mountains. But their favorite places to be are the places scattered with tropical shrubs and cacti.   


Physical Description: Black-tailed jackrabbits have a glossy head, most of the time they will have a few white hairs on the middle of the crown and grayish hairs near their ears and eyes. A black line extends along the inner sides of the hind feet. Their feet are padded very well to handle the rough terrain. Their body size is 574mm and average tail length is 96mm.


Main foods: Black-tailed jackrabbits are herbivores. Grass is the preferred food, but not all the time grass is available so they are known to eat tree bark.

Behavior: Black-tailed jackrabbits are solitary species. Instead of digging a burrow it rests and takes shelter in shallow depressions made in soil or vegetation. During the day they like to spent the majority of their time in the shade under bushes. Duing mating season the males will fight with other male to pursuad the females. The males usualy fight with there fore feet and kicking with the hind legs.

Niche: They are food for other species. They turn plant life into aminal life then the carnivors have something to eat.

Interactions with other species: Black-tailed jackrabbits can live up to eight years, but become dinner for hawks, coyotes, and badgers. These are the main predators that jackrabbits have to watch out for all the time.






Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico         Page Author: Tyler Escapule


Species common name(s): Silver Haired Bat

Scientific Name: Lasionycteris noctivagans


            Lasionycteris noctivagans       


 Range: All of New Mexico that has trees. Do not live in the desert or in fields.


Habitat: In forest areas, they roost under the bark and other holes, like woodpecker nests.


Physical Description: 3 to 4 inches long, long black and silver hair. Stubby tail. May live up to 12 years.


Main foods: Various flying insects, especially flies, moths, and cadis flies.

Behavior: Always gives birth to twins. Usually solitary. Slow flying. Migrate south in winters. Males roost alone while females group into nurseries. Insectivores. Are active during the evening to the morning, from dusk until dawn.

Niche: To eat annoying insects, (keep the insect population in check.) and to be eaten by skunks and great horned owls.

Interactions with other species: Are non-to-friendly with anything else. Dislike other flying things bigger than it.


Threats to the species:  Deforestation (habitat destruction) 








Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico      Page Author: Audrey Rosenblatt


Species common name(s): Pronghorn Antelope

Scientific Name: Antilocapra americana

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Range: The pronghorn antelope is North America’s only antelope.  They are true natives to America.   The pronghorn antelope are inhabitants of the  southwestern United States and through out many parts of New Mexico.


Taxonomy:  Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata  Class: Mammalia  Order: Artiodactyla  Family: Antilocapridae Genus: Antilocapra Species: americana


Habitat: These mammals usually live in open grasslands, prairies, deserts and plains.


Physical Description: Male pronghorn antelope are 1.3-1.4 m long and weigh about 42-59 kg. The females may be 1.3-1.5 m long and weigh 41-50 kg. The antelope have a cinnamon colored body with a white rump, belly and facial features.  Both the male and female have horns, although, the female have smaller horns and lack the “prongs” that the males exhibit.  The male is larger and has a black line on the lower jaw.  The antelopes have heavy eyelashes which serve as sun shades. The antelope have a very light bone structure and excellent vision so that they can protect themselves from any predators.  They have large windpipes and run with their mouths open so that they can inhale enough air. They are capable of running several miles at one time and can reach speeds of up to 60 mph.


Main foods: The antelope typically feeds on a variety of plants.  They especially enjoy forbs and shrubs.  They may even eat cacti.

Behavior: The pronghorn antelopes are most active during early mornings and evenings.  These animals are nomadic, and usually move long distances, depending on the season.  In the winter, these animals tend to herd together, often sleeping and eating near each other.

Niche:  The pronghorn antelope are very beneficial to the vegetation because they eat it and do not allow the vegetation to grow out of control.

Interactions with other plants and animals:  The predators of the pronghorn antelope include coyotes, mountain lions, golden eagles, wild dogs and bobcats.  The antelope may also eat several types of grasses, but are very specific.  The grasses are eaten when young.  The antelope also feed on recently disturbed ground because these places can provide an abundance of new plant growth.


Threats to the species:  There are many pronghorn losses due to predation as well as destruction of land and human inhabitance.






Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico       Page Author: Justin Baker

Species common name(s): White Tail Deer

 Scientific Name: Odocoileinae virginianus

                                                                                     Range- Most North America, southern Canada, and some of Central America.

Habitat- White tail deer prefer open woodlands, and small meadows and they also like thickets to bed down during the day so they can here anything coming towards them.

Physical Description- They have a reddish brown coat during the summer and a gray coat during the winter. They have a tail 4  to 8 inches long that is white underneath. And they stand 3.5 feet to the shoulder

Main Foods- They eat grass, leaves, and bark in the winter when food is scarce.

Behavior- White tail deer have a good sense of smell and hearing but are colored blind. They are good swimmers and can run up to 36 miles per hour. And go into the rut (mating season) during the fall.

Niche-They are prey to carnivores like wolves, bears, mountain lions, and coyotes. They use there tail as a communication device and they are food to people

 Interactions With Other Species- They interact with wolves, mountain lions, and bears when they try to attack them. And they interact with moose, elk , and caribou in the field wile they both feed and they warn each other when they sense danger  


Threats To The Species- There is this disease that is called CWD (chronic wasting disease) that kills deer very slowly and is caused by deer eating their own feces. .  


Related Species- Moose, Elk, Mule Deer, Coues Deer, Caribou







Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Laura Wilson


Species common name(s): Mule Deer

Scientific Name: Odocoileus herionus

            Muledeer bucks in Velvet           

 Range: The Mule Deer is found in the Western two-thrids of New Mexico, and in the Southern (desert) third of the state.


Taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Cervidae, Genus:Odocioleus, Species: hemionus


Habitat: The habitat where Mule Deer live ranges from low elevation deserts and pinon-juniper forests to canyon and river bottoms and ponderosa forests in high mountain country.


Physical Description: Mule Deer have two sub species, the Rocky Mnt. Mule Deer, and the Desert Mule Deer. The name Mule Deer is unique to the species because of its large ears, narrow tail that is brownish in color with a black tip. Most Mule Deer have a reddish color in the summer, and blueish grey in the winter. They have very good eyesight, hearing and sense of smell. Both the male and female are about 3-3.5 feet tall at the shoulder. Males weigh from 100-400lbs. And females weigh 80-250lbs. Antlers are only found on the male Mule Deer.


Main foods: Mule Deer are browsers and will mostly eat any vegation that they can find in their habitat. They will eat leaves, branches, needles, oak tree leaves, juniper, mountain manogony, pinyon, ceanothus, bitterbrush, Douglas fir, white fir, ponderosa and eriogonums.

Behavior: The Mule Deer typically rest througout the day in protective cover. They eat and scrounge for food at dawn and dusk.

Niche: Mule Deer help the ecosystem because they benefit the vegitaion by keeping it controlled and trimmed. They help fertilize the ground, and serve as food to other carnivors in their habitats.








Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico     Page Author: Ryan Comsotock


Species common name(s): Wapiti, Elk

Scientific Name: Cervus elaphus


 Range: The west side of New Mexico in the higest mountains. They may stretch to plains shrublands or grasslands.


Habitat: They where origonaly found in plains but were pushed into the mountains by people.  They now mostly live in sheltered canyons or National Forest lands.


Physical Description: Dark brown heads, tan bodies, and white rumps.  Males have large antlers usaly consisting of six points.  In the rut they have large manes.


Main foods: Grasses make up 85% of their diet and also they eat sage, asters, twigs and brush, and mushrooms. 

Behavior: The males rub their horns on trees and role on the ground after they pee to get sent on them durring the breeding season.

 Niche: They keep grasslands from turning into forests, and provide an important source of meat for carnivores and humans.

Interactions with other species: Humans hunt them; aspens depend on them for pruning, lungworms, brucellosis, both feed off elk.


Threats to the species: Threats are hunting, diseases, parasites, starvation because of cattle grazing, and predation.



Mammals of Arizona  by Donald F. Hoffmeister


Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico     Page Author: Amanda Wilson


Species common name(s): Javelina, Collard Peccary, musk hog, Tayaussa

Scientific Name: Peccary angulatus




 Range: The Javelina lives in the Sonoran Deserts of southwestern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and southward through Central America to northern Argentina.


Habitat: The Javelina adapts easily to any desert habitat but likes to live near watering holes and cliffs, possibly near oak trees.


Physical Description: Pig like snout, pointy ears, 3 toed hind foot, knee high or shorter, grey or brown coloration.


Main foods: The Javelina likes to eat foods such as prickly pears, lupines, mesquite beans, and they eat a wide variety of fruits, bulbs, and acorns.

Behavior: Javelinas live in heards, and around mid morning when the heard eat, they separate into a loosely knit group. When the day heats up the Javelinas move into cave areas to keep cool. When sleeping, they huddle together for warmth. They also have a very strong family scent that helps keep the family together. Herd size ranges from five to twenty seven or more Javelinas.

Niche: Javelinas are herbavoures, and eat fruits and nuts. When “Bathing” and eating, they run there snouts through the dirt and help aerate the soil.

Interactions with other species: Their enemies include coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions. Luckily, their mall hooves are well adapted for running up to speeds of 25 miles an hour, to run from them.


Threats to the species: Coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, hunters, roads and habitat destruction.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico      Page Author:Cori Rebarchik

Species common name(s): Oryx, Gemsbok Orix

Scientific Name: Oryx gazella


 Range: This is a native species to Africa, although their population was getting low so they were reared by the Department of Game and Fish at the Albuquerque Zoo for a year. Then eventually were released as game animals near the Redrock area and in the White Sands area in New Mexico.


Taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Subphylum: Vertebrata, Class: Mammalia, Subclass: Theria, Order: Artiodactyla, Suborder: Ruminantia, Family: Bovidae, Genus: Oryx, Species: gazella  


Habitat: Oryx are most commonly found in arid areas, brush and tree savannahs in flat and hilly areas.  They can also be found in semi-desert and desert areas, including dry steppes.  In New Mexico most are found in the White Sands gated area built to keep the animals in (that cost $400,000 to build).


Physical Description: They have dramatic haltar-like facial masks paired with white patches.  The black striping also extends along the sides near the underbelly, although the rest of the body is a buffy tan color to a brown color.  Males have a tuft of black hairs on the throat.  A short mane runs from the head to the shoulders.  They have horns that are long and extend straight back from the head, with the lower half of them being ringed.  The horns can grow up to 150cm long, although the females horns tend to be more slender and longer than the males.  The gemsbok (certain species introduced to New Mexico) is the largest of the oryx species. The ears are large and broad. They stand about as tall as a human but their horns extend farther.   


Main foods: The oryx normally feeds on grasses and herbs, juicy roots, fruits, melons, leaves, buds, and bulbs. They can go without water for several days but drink at streams and waterholes when water is available. Oryx are experts at finding water and often dig into dried river beds to access ground water. If a dry periods occurs, oryx can dig up fruits and root containing water.

Behavior: Oryx live in groups usually of 30 to 40 animals, but in NM are found in smaller groups. The herds usually consist of one dominant male with several females and subadults. Groups of bachelor herds also can form. Male-male interactions are aggressive but rarely result in severe injury. Displays are common with the oryx, where males show their size by standing broadside to one another with horns pointed over their shoulders toward the individual being threatened. Often males will defend small territories in which they attempt to mate with and control all the females.

Niche: Oryx help to control the ground vegetation by consuming it.  They also can help other animals by digging holes for water, when there is little to be found.

Interactions with other species: Oryx main predators are humans.  Hunting licenses are sold every year for both game and food purposes. Out of all animals in White Sands the oryx has had the most impact on the landscape.  The oryx has introduced a large threat to cacti, which also would endanger the White Sand’s entire ecosystem.

Threats to the species:  The main threat to oryx is people because they are not a native species.  Oryx were placed in New Mexico to increase the big game in the area, started to breed, and now the species has taken off.  The main threat today for the oryx would be over hunting or environmental people eliminating them.



Book: White Sands: The History of a National Monument, Dietmar Schneider-Hector.  The University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1993.

Picture Source:$narrative.html




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Sean Caton


Species common name(s): Plains Pocket Mouse, PP Mouse.

Scientific Name: Perognathus flavescens.



Range: Mostly found in the Panhandle of Texas, Colorado, most of New Mexico.

Taxonomy:  Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Rodentia, Family: Heteromyidae

Habitat: This Pocket Mouse lives in areas that have sandy soil, and light vegitation. It commonly burrows under clumps of Spanish bayonet, or prickley pears. It breeds April – July,  it has 4-5 young at a time, and it has 2 litters a year.

Physical Description: A small yellowish colored mouse. Relativley short. Length 30cm. Tail 61mm. Weight 8-11 grams.

Main foods: They typically fest on seeds beneath of grass and weeds.

Behavior: It burrows usually banith blarge bushes or shrubs; its whole entrance is usually pluged durring the day, and it will come out at night to eat. Its home range is 1/10 an acre.

Niche: It eats the seeds off of the grasses and plants, this helps so that there is not a wide spread of grass and plants, and there wont be over growth. Its other job is to sacrofice itself to other birds snakes reptiles and larger animals that get the erge to eat a pocket mouse.

Threats to the species:  Large birds, snakes other reptiles, and larger mammals.





  Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico       Page Author: Nick Wilvert


Species common name(s): Humans, people, mankind.

Scientific Name: Homo sapiens




Range: Due to technology of the modern world, humans are able to reach just about any location.  The range of human settlements spans widely across the world.



Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Primata Family: Hominidae


Habitat: Most humans live in urban settings with buildings and housing made of non-natural materials like steel and concrete.  Many of these cities are built near rivers and fertile land, where there are few temperature or weather extremes.


Physical Description: Humans are bipeds, meaning we have two legs and two feet which we walk on.  We stand straight with a slightly “s curved” spine, and have two arms with 4 fingers and an opposable thumb on each hand.  Skin colors range from a pale tan/white color to dark brown.


Main Foods: Humans are omnivorous, eating both meat and plants.  However, today many of the foods consumed by humans are produced artificially, losing some of the vitamins and minerals needed to live a healthy life.


Behavior: Human behavior is different from many animals in that we spend most of our lives contributing to the rest of our society.  Humans do not need to spend time building houses, hunting and growing food, or finding water.  Each human performs one of those tasks for others in their habitat.  Humans are social beings and for the most part enjoy being around each other.


Niche: Humans have the ability to have a huge impact on the environment around them.  Due to the fact that we are one of the most intelligent beings and have to tools necessary to make things happen (arms, legs, hands, fingers, brains) we have the ability to drastically change the environment in which we live.


Interactions with other species: Humans are the top species and because of that many treat other species as inferior.  We keep animals as pets, have zoos, and hunt and breed animals for food.  We are also the only species that uses the scientific process to learn more about other species.


Threats to species: The only threat to humans as a species is other humans.  We have no natural predators, but for some reason seem to kill each other.





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico       Page                 Author: Garrett S.

Species common name(s): Raccoon, Masked bandit, aroughcun.             

Scientific Name: Procyon lotor                                                            














Range: Panama north to upper Canada, but only near water.


Habitat:  Forest, prairie, marsh, coasts, cities.


Physical Description: 18-28 in. long, tail is 8-12 in. Has a dark colored band of fur around eyes, looks like a mask.

Main foods: Omnivorous, eats fish, frogs, clams, crayfish, termites, ant larvae, mice, insects, fruit, berries, nuts, and vegetables. 

Behavior: Shy but curious. “wash” their food in water. Most active during the night. Raid trashcans. Sense of touch is highly developed, smell important for hunting. Good climbers and good swimmers. Makes low twittering sounds, growls, and snarls. Males have no part in raising babies. Do not hibernate. Tail used as fat storage, balance while climbing, and to support them when they sit up.


Interactions with other species: Adults have few natural enemies; great horned owls, wolves, coyotes, large snakes, and bobcats hunt young.


Threats to the species: Pollution is the greatest threat to them. Raccoons have adapted very well to urban sprawl. Except for roads/ road kill.  




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico       Page Author: Andrew Krause


Common Name:  Ringtail (Eastern Ringtail)


Scientific Name:  Bassariscus astutus


Range:  It is found from Texas, to Oregon, and farther south into Mexico.  In New Mexico, it can be found in most rural or even some suburban areas (See Habitat).

                                      Ring Tailed Cat (Bassariscus astutus)


Habitat- Ringtails can live in a variety of climates, but prefer rocky areas, by broken fences, canyon walls, and slopes.  They occur less commonly in woodland areas, where they usually nest in hollow trees.  They sometimes also live in buildings. They are expert climbers, capable of ascending vertical surfaces, and thus can nest in crannies and crevices normally unreachable.


Description:  A cat-sized omnivore resembling a miniature fox with a long raccoon-like tail; tail flattened, about as long as it’s head and body, banded with 14 to 16 alternating black and white rings (black rings incomplete on underside), and with a black tip; five toes on each foot, armed with sharp, curved, non-retractile claws; upperparts fulvous, heavily overcast with blackish; face sooty gray with large, distinct, whitish areas above and below each eye, and one at anterior base of each ear; eye ring black; back of ears whitish toward tip, grayish basally; underparts whitish, tinged with buff.


Main foods- Ringtails eat a wide variety of foods. In central Texas, as judged by the examination of the digestive tracts of more than 100 ringtails, their diet consists of small passerine birds (9.9%); small mammals (rats, mice, squirrels, cottontails), including carrion (24.4%); snakes and lizards (3.9%); toads and frogs (0.2%); insects, mostly grasshoppers and crickets (31.2%); spiders, scorpions and centipedes (11.1%); and fruits of native plants, principally persimmon, hackberry, and mistletoe (19.3%). The diet varies with the season: largely birds, mammals, and fruits of hackberry and mistletoe in winter; mammals, insects, and juniper berries in spring; insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and persimmon fruit in summer. Insufficient data are available to determine the food in autumn.


Behavior:  They are not shy around people, and often nest in mines or sheds.     They are wholly nocturnal, and spend the greater part of the day asleep in their dens, and venture out at night to feed.


Niche:    Possible predators include bobcats, raccoons, foxes, and especially large owls.  Potential competition for food exists between ringtails and many species that share similar habitats and feeding styles. species (e.g., raccoons, gray foxes, coyotes, barn owls, great horned owls, rattlesnakes, gopher snakes).


Interactions between Other Species:  Ringtails, being generalists, do have more ready access to food.  However, as noted in its niche, ringtails have a lot of competition and predation.


Threats to the Species:  The great horned owl and bobcat both prey upon the Ringtail.  It is not hunted by man, but human destruction of habitat harms the Ringtail directly, as well as indirectly by harming its food sources.




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Tyler


Species common name(s): Coati and the Coatimundi

Scientific Name: Nasua narica

             Range: The range is in the southwestern United States and all the way into Argentina


Habitat: forests and tropical areas.


Physical Description: The coati is eight to twelve inches tall; it is thirteen to twienty seven inches long.  They range from a cinnamon color to black, and around their eyes there is a mask that is showed with white patches at the top, sides, and the bottom of their eyes.


Main foods: Worms, termites, snails, lizards, snakes, mice, fruits, nuts, and eggs

Behavior: The males will travel alone for the most part, but when they are ready to mate then they will go with a group of females and prevent the other males from joining them.  The females will travel in groups from four to fifty if they have their yound with them.

Niche: The female coati is very social, but only to others in their group.  While the males are very solitary, but when it comes time to make then they join a group of females.  They also help keep the population of the insects and the small reptiles down.

Interactions with other species: Large birds of prey, boas, jaguars, puma, ocelots, jaguarundis, and humans.




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico                               Page Author: Haleigh Chwirka


Species common name: Western Spotted Skunk

Scientific Name: Spilogale gracilis                                                                       













Range: The Western Spotted Skunk is found all through southwest Texas to eastern New Mexico.


Habitat: The Western Spotted Skunk usually lives around rocky bluffs, cliffs, and brush-bordered canyon streams or streambeds.


Physical Description: Spotted; smaller than striped skunk. 
Total length: 35-55 cm; tail length: 7-22 cm. Unusually, its coat is spotted instead of striped.


Main Foods: Diet includes rodents, birds, fruits, insects, eggs, rabbits, carrion, and some vegetable matter.


Behavior: All skunks have highly developed spray techniques for defense and can spray their horrible-smelling musk distances of up to 15 feet. The musk can burn the eyes and cause momentary loss of vision. Also, most spotted skunks are found in rocky areas, where they have adapted by climbing rocks.


Niche: The spotted skunk is an omnivorous animal that feeds on many various animals and invertebrates and its predators are domestic cats and dogs and the great horned owls.


Interactions with other species: Cats, dogs, and the great horned owls prey on them.


Threats to the species: Roads, over hunting, global warming and pollution.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico     Page Author: Anita Salazar

Species Name- Striped Skunk

Scientific Name:  Mephitis mephitis



Striped Skunk                                                  Range map




Range-  The range of the striped skunk is somewhat large and may vary extremely, they can be found in just about any part of New Mexico, along with many of the Southwestern states.


Habitat- The skunk often lives in wooded or brushy farmlands.


Behavior- Striped skunks are nocturnal animals, and hardly come out until the later part of the day, and are often back in their burrows by early morning. Towards the end of the fall they become extremely fat due to preparation for hibernation which takes place during the winter, they will again awaken in early spring. They are very social animals and many times during hibernation you will find between 5-6 in one burrow.


Physical description- Striped skunks are about 68 cm in length, they have stout bodies, and have two stripes along their backs which meet at the neck or head area. Male Skunks are usually larger than females. They have short ears and small eyes. They also have a long bushy tail.


Food-  Skunks do not eat just one main food, but a quite large variety of different things such as insects, arachnids, reptiles, small mammals, and some birds.

Niche- This particular kind of skunk is a carnivore/omnivore. The diet of this animal varies according to the season.

Interaction with other species-  Skunks don’t have much interaction with many other species, however they are very social amongst their own species.

Species threat- One major threat of these animals is the destruction of their habitats, however many skunks may be killed by cars or by people shooting them, because sometimes they are thought to be a threat to some small farm animals.






Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Anthony Strickland 


Species common name(s): Least chipmunk

Scientific Name: TAMIAS MINIMUS




 Range: This creature is found mostly in the northen portion of New Mexico reaching the Sandia Mountains.




Physical Description: The least chipmunk is the smallest of all chipmunks hence the word least. The chipmunk is easily recognised by the black stripes running down its back and are accompanied by white stripes. The white stripes run from its ear down its back and above and below the eyes. It weighs about an ounce.

Main foods: The least chipmunk tipically eats wild berries, seeds from coniferous trees, beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and cactus fruit when available.

Behavior: The chipmunk spends most of its day feeding and building its nest. It uses its large cheeks to carry thing back to its nest. In the winter the chipmunk burros into a tree or deep into the ground.

Niche: The least chipmunk gathers nuts most of its day gets eaten by predators and squished by cars. It also prepares for winter.

Interactions with other species: Least chipmunks feed mostly hawks and other big birds, weasels, mink, and feral domestic cats.

Threats to the species:  The biggest threats to the chipmunk are humans when the chipmunk enters a home or building the humans try to kill and trap the chipmunks. When chipmunks are present in large numbers they cause structural damage. In result more of them die due to humans.




Species Common Name: Cliff Chipmunk                              Page Author: Oona van Swol

Scientific: Eutamias dorsalis                                                                                 








Range: The range of the Cliff Chipmunks is from the Arizona Strip to the Mogollon Plateau and into the Whites Mountains and on many different mountain ranges.(Range shown in pink)


Habitat: Cliff chipmunks live in cliffs, hence the name “cliff chipmunk”, but they are also found in rocky areas and especially in pinon-juniper areas and also in ponderosa pine, oak, maple, and woodlands.


Physical Description: Their back feet are gray on the bottom, the stripes on their back or dark colored but not a complete black. Cliff chipmunks have gray heads with grayish shoulders. The male chipmunks are slightly smaller than the females.


Main Foods: The chipmunks eat many kinds of nuts, seeds, berries, various kinds of stems and flower heads. EX: mountain maple, wild carrot, serviceberry, bitterbrush, bird eggs and nestlings, and mushrooms.


Behavior: Cliff chipmunks hibernate during the winter season but may come out from its den when the weather is unusually warm. These dens are normally in cliffs, rock piles, but sometimes they may be in underground burrows and in trees. These chipmunks may give a sharp squeak approx. 160 times per a minute, and after each squeak they twitch their tail. The chipmunk will give a high-pitched yelp whenever it is startled or excited. The chipmunks slight striping is a wonderful protection devise for the rodents. They mate from April to May. Each female produces 4-8 babies. Some can have more than one litter. The way these chipmunks call to each other are from hiding spots and sounding a low and repeated “chuck”.


Niche: These chipmunks are herbivores. They survive on seeds, berries, nuts and such. 


Interaction with other species: The following animals eat the cliff chipmunk: coyotes, wolves, foxes, hawks, owls, rattlesnakes, and gopher snakes. Chipmunks dig burrows and also may use burrows of other animals to live in, the burrows they dig may be used by other animals.

Threats to the species: Humans in the park will often feed these “cute” little chipmunks and then the chipmunks will become too dependent upon being fed that they will die if they don’t get fed.



Information came from:  Picture from:

Books: Mammals of the Southwest E. Lendell Cockrum 

Mammals of Arizona Donald F. Hoffmeister 

Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Julia Levin


Common Name: Harris Antelope squirrel


Scientific Name: Ammospermophilus harrisii





Range: The Harris Antelope squirrel lives in Western and Southern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico.


Habitat: This animal lives in mainly desert regions, especially low deserts with little vegetation.


Physical Description:   The Harris’ Antelope Squirrel has a pink beige back in the summer and gray upperparts in the winter. The under parts of this squirrel are white. The squirrel has a single white stripe on each side.  The tail is gray on top and mixed black and white on the bottom. The ears are small. They weigh about 4.5 oz, are about 6 inches long.


Main Foods: They Harris Antelope Squirrel main food is the fruits and seed of yucca and cacti but they also eat insects and other plants. The squirrel gets it water from the food it eats by metabolizing it.


Behavior:  The squirrel is very active even at the hottest times of days. They are solitary creatures that blend into the environment.


Niche:  The Harris Antelope Squirrel is an omnivore. They are also well adapted to the area around them and serve as an important part of the ecosystem because they are the prey of larger animals.


Interactions with other species: These are solitary animals, and they chose to live alone. The squirrel gets extremely upset when disturbed.  However some of their predators include reptiles and birds of prey.


Threats to the species:  The loss of habitat due to agriculture, growth of cities, mining and the use of chemicals to get rid of ground squirrels are threats to the specises.




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Noah Duran


Species common name(s): Rock Squirrel

portraitScientific Name: Spermophilus variegatus


 Range: The rock squirrel is distrributed through most of the western United States. It can be found in southern Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas and the panhandle of Oklahoma.


Habitat: Rock squirrels mainly inhabit rocky areas. They can be found in canyons, on cliffs or in boulder piles. Its den is usually made under rocks in a burrow, but it may make its den in a hollow tree.


Physical Description: The rock squirrel can be between 17 and 21 inches in length. It is mainly a mottled gray with creamy white undersides. It has a large bushy tail and a brown rump.


Main foods: The rock squirrel eats pine nuts, walnuts, mesquite seeds, cherries, cactus, saltbush, agave, wild gourd, and sumac. It will also eat most fruits and vegetables. The rock squirrel also eats insects like grasshoppers and crickets. Rock squirrels also eat carrion or dead animals,


Behavior: Rock squirrels are most active during the earlymorning and the late afternoon. The usually live in small colonies. They may hibernate for short amounts of time in colder regions.

Niche: Rock Squirrels are mainly herbivores, but also help control the population of crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects.

Interactions with other species: The rock squirrel is prey for hawks, roadrunners, coyotes, and snakes.


Threats to the species:  The rock squirrel is really not under any serious threat, but habitat destruction could have an effect on their population in the future.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico        Author of Page: Nancy Frank


Species common name(s): White Footed Mouse

Scientific Name: Peromyscus leucopus





Range: This is a picture of New Mexico all of the purple area is where the Whited Footed Mouse lives.


Habitat: Open and grassy places, logs, brushy, or wooded areas.


Physical Description:  it varies with its location. It often has a white stomach, body is usually reddish brown with a little bit of gray and a darker strip down its back. It also has long ears. The size of the mouse for the head and body is about 3-4 inches long. Its tal is about 4 inches long, it weighs from about ½ to 1 1/10 ounces.


Main foods:  seeds, nuts, berries, and sometimes smaller animals.


Behavior: when the mice are scared they start to beat their feet very fast on the ground, with their front feet they sometimes beat on a hollow reed.


Niche:  I could not find any information on how they have a roll on the ecosystem.


Interactions with other species: they live by themselves. The only time that they interact with each other is during the breeding season. This is usually around spring or fall.


Threats to the species: birds, some snakes, and owls. Two of the main owls that are a threat are the barred and the screech owl.




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico       Page Author: Sonya Martinez


Species common name(s): Masked shrew

Scientific Name: Sorex cinereus                                                                               


 Range:  The masked shrew ranges from Alaska and Canada, south through the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico, and through the Appalachian Mountains to western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.


Habitat: masked shrews usually live in ponderosa pine and higher elivations.  They also live nere strems where is moist and thick.  Also were the vegitation is moist and thick.


Physical Description: a masked shrews are a small mammal with a long nose.  They also have black velvet like fur.  The eyes and ears are also small and difficalt to see.  The teeth are numerous and most have red pigment in the enamel.

Behavior:  masked shrews are active at night and at day.   They often eat up to three quarters of their total body weight in food every day.   

Niche:  The masked shrew’s predators are owls, and, coyotes

Interactions with other species:  none

Threats to the species:  Humans and predators.




Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Brian Smith


Species Common Names: Opossum, Virginia Opossum

Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana


Virginia the Opossum





Range: They are located in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, Mexico, Central America, and Costa Rica.


Habitat: Terrestrial and arboreal. Lives in many areas, but prefers wooded land areas.


Description: An opossum is small, thin, has hairless ears and a long, scaly tail. It is gray or brown, with some white hairs. It is about 15"to 20"in length, and it weighs 9 to 13 lbs, and the females are smaller than the males.


Main Foods: It is omnivorous, and eats foods which include fruit, insects, eggs, and small vertebrates.


Behavior: The opossum can be a very fierce fighter, and in the event that the possum runs into an animal much larger than it, it has the habit of playing dead.


Niche: They help control the insect population, by feeding on them.


Interactions: Shortened lifespan due to predators, such as humans, dogs, cats, and coyotes.


Threat of Species: Some opossums that are near Canada lose portions of the tail and ears to frostbite. They are also threatened by cars, and they can carry rabies.






Species common name(s): Bison, Buffalo         Author: Ryan Comstock

Scientific Name: Bison bison


Text Box: Historic Range




Range: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and in Wood Buffalo National Park, Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary, and Slave River Lowlands in Canada, Alaska and Canada.  Before they were almost extinct, they roamed all over the plains of America.


Taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Artiodactyla, Family:bovidae, Genus:Bison, Species: Bison Bison


Habitat: The Great Plains, prairies, and forests.

Physical Description: The bison is the largest land animal in North America.  They are five to six ft. at their hump and can get up to eleven feet long.  The males weigh 2200 lbs and the females weigh 1320.

Main foods: The American bison is a grazer. Its diet is made up of mostly grasses and sedges. It will occasionally eat berries and lichen. In winter, the bison uses its head and hooves to move snow off the vegetation.

Behavior: The bison roam the plains in giant herds eating all shrubery in their path.  If a preaditor makes a move the herd will stampeed destroying anything in their way.

Niche: Bison benifet their habitat by lowering fire danger by eating the vegitation.  They also provide food to predators and fertalize the soil.

Threats to species: Bison are currently extinct in many places but there are programs that are raising herds to release into the wild.

Interactions with other species: They are usaly left alone exept when being hunted.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Jacob Retzer

Species common name(s): Desert Shrew

Scientific Name: Notiosorex crawfordi (Coues)            

 Range: The desert shrew is found throughout the southern United States and northern Mexico.


Habitat: Desert shrews do not need a particular habitat as long as there is ground cover available. They are often found in packrat houses, or under dead agaves, old logs, or other debris.


Physical Description: An adult weighs 3 - 5 grams (1/10 - 1/7 of an ounce, or less than a nickel), while a newborn is only 1/4 of a gram. They are 2-2 3/5” in length.


Main foods: The desert shrew eats a variety of arthropods, lizards and even small mice. They can also eat scorpions, which is different because they are immune to their sting.

Behavior: The desert shrew is mainly active at night, which means that they are nocturnal. When they sleep they conserve energy by falling into a torper. They do this by lowering their body temperature.

Niche: The desert shrew is an insectivore and eats scorpions. The desert shrew eats insects such as grass hoppers and they keep the population down. The shrew is the only poisonous mammal, but it only has enough poison to kill small organisms.

Interactions with other species: The desert shrew is prey for the barn owl and horned owl. Other raptors, such as the red tailed hawk also use the desert shrew as a source of food. The desert shrew also steals pack rat dens and use them as their own.


Threats to the species:   The habitats of the desert shrew are being destroyed by human actions, including the use of rodent poison.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico         Page Author: Rachael Rembold

Species common name(s): Red Squirrel

Scientific Name: Tamiasciurus hudsonicus














Range: The Red Squirrel is found throughout many forests. These forest can be of pine, hardwood, mixed, ect.


Habitat: The Red Squirrel nests in tree tops, in many different types of forests. They are normally found in the north and in higher elevations The Red Squirrel can be found near or around houses.  


Physical Description: The Red Squirrel has a coat that is a shade of red. The sides of the squirrel are the brightest, while the ventral side is paler. The tail is the same color as the dorsal side of the squirrel but is also lined with black. The Red Squirrel wieghs about 7-12 ounces.


Main foods: The Red Squirrel eats a wide variety of foods. Their diet consists of small insects, nut, bark, mushrooms, fruit, seeds and cones.

Behavior: The Red Squirrel is active in the morning and in the late afternoon. They spend most of their time alone with the exception of a mother and her young. The Red Squirrel  spend most of its time up in trees were their nests are. Red Squirrels are loud and squeak and “chatter” a lot. 

Niche: Red Squirrels are mainly herbivores with the exception of them eating small insects. They also eat baby birds and eggs. They are also lower down on the foodchain. The Red Squirrel also helps with seed dispersal, the seeds are spread through their fecies.

Interactions with other species: The Red Squirrel is constantly eaten by snakes mainly the rattlesnake in the southwest. They are also prey of many types of owls and hawks.


Threats to the species:  The Red Squirrels main threat right now is people. The Red Squirrel lives near residentail areas and often become victims of road kill.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico 


Page Author: Kay Rinehimer


Species common name(s): Swift Fox

Scientific Name: Vulpes velox

 Swift Fox

 Range: They live in many areas in Canada and the United States, including many southern states and some eastern and western ones, as well.


Habitat: They tend to live in grassy areas, like, for example, in Buffalo grass, bluestem, and wire grass.


Physical Description: They are usually about 30 cm. (12 in.) at the shoulder, with a body length of up to 80 cm. (about 30 in.). Males are slightly bigger than females. The average weight of an adult Swift Fox is about 2.25-2.45 kilograms (about 5-5.5 lbs.). The coloring is buff-grey on their dorsal side (top) and orange-tan on their sides. In the summer, the fur is coarse and short with more red in the gray; their tail is long. They have a small nose with black spots on each side. The ear is an orange-tan, and the tip of the tail is black.


Main foods: In the wild, they eat a variety of foods, including mice, cottontail rabbits, carrion, small mammals, birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians. They hunt nearly every day, for most hours of the day; from dawn to dusk, covering as much distance as they can. They eat what they can catch, and if they cannot catch anything, they will settle for various kinds of grasses and berries.

Behavior: Swift foxes are nocturnal, vocal and non-territorial. Although they are social animals, they keep one mate throughout their lifetime. They got the name "swift fox" because of their speed. They usually breed from December to February. The kits are born about 51 days later. Usually about four to five are born in each litter, and they begin to leave the den in about September to October.

Niche: The swift fox has a special niche in its environment, depending on the open, short, mixed-grass prairies on which they can find prairie dog burrows, and ground squirrel dens on which they feed.

Interactions with other species: They hunt other small mammals in the wild, as listed above. They are very social animals, though usually only with their own species. They also compete with other foxes, such as the Gray fox and the Kit fox, and the Coyote for food, as they eat many of the same things.

Threats to the species: These animals are curious and have little fear of humans, so they are easy to hunt and kill. In the early 1900s, hundreds were killed accidentally during “predator control” programs aimed at killing wolves, coyotes and ground squirrels on the prairies, and farms. People today still mistake them for young coyotes and thus kill them. Much of their favored habitats have been destroyed because of agricultural, industrial and urban development and building. Farming, such as wheat and corn are unfit for foxes to eat, so much of their food supply has also been destroyed. They are endangered because of hunting, development, and building, as stated above. They disappeared from Canada in the early 1900’s, but there have been many efforts of reintroduction in the last 15 years.



Species common name(s):  Western Red Bat        Page Author: Sarah  Connors


Scientific Name: Lasiurus blossevillii


Range: North and South America, Arizona and most of New Mexico.


Habitat: They live in broad-leafed woodlands. Mainly found at mid-elevations 2,400 to 7,200 feet. They live in trees preferably cotton or aspen along the river.


Physical Description: Their hair changes from yellow brown to orange. They have  a white bib under their chin. Their wings are black  and are about 12 inches. They can weigh anywhere from 7 to 13 grams. They have  a total length of 93 to 117 millimeters.


Main foods: Their hunting starts at dusk. They mainly eat large moths, beetles and grasshoppers.


Behavior: They migrate during the winter, when they hibernate they sleep in hollow trees. They can keep there body temperature just above freezing. They can catch their food with their tail membrane and can curl up.


Niche: They eat insects like months, beetles and grasshoppers and feed other animals.


Interactions with other species: The bat will eat and drink with others but it will not roost with them. They can also spread rabies to other mammals.


Threats to the species: Their threatened because they are losing their habitat due to cattle trampling down the aspen trees. Also because of pesticides killing off insects and have they have a low reproductive rate.







Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico      Page Author: Abby stokes

Species common name(s): Ord’s kangaroo rat

Scientific Name: Dipodomys Merriam

Photo of kangaroo rat, from Ocean Oasis














Range – The ords kangaroo rat lives in the southern regions of New Mexico.


Habitat –Semi-arid grasslands, mixed-grasslands, scrublands Sandy waste areas, sand dunes, and sometimes hard packed soil

Physical description –Length:   Average: 243 mm males; 242mm females    Weight: Average: 52 g The Ord’s kangaroo rat has a stripe on the top and bottom of its tail and at the end has a little tuft of fur.

Main foods –They eat a variety of seeds, like sunflower seeds, oats, mesquite, tumbleweed, Russian thistle, and sandbur.


Behavior –They are most active on cloudy nights, to get around they hop instead of walking or running (hint the name).  They make a noise that is like that of a bird chirping.


Niche – The Ord’s kangaroo rat aerates the soil by digging burrows.


Interactions with species – The Ord’s kangaroo rat is very social, often interacting with prairie dogs gophers and other large rodents.


Threats to species – The major threats to the Ord’s kangaroo rat are foxes, coyotes, badgers, and long-tailed weasels, owls, and other large birds.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico Page Author: Casey Klaus


Species Common Name: Abert Squirrel or Tassel-eared Squirrel

Species Scientific Name: Sciurus aberti                                                                                                                                

Physical Description: Abert squirrels have tufts of hair on the tips on their ears. It has grey fur on the sides, white fur on the belly, and reddish fur on its back. It has a bushy tail with white fur on the bottom of it. In the summer, its ear tassels can be smaller or they may disappear all the way. They have long back paws and powerful back legs.


Habitats: They live in coniferous forests, mainly Ponderosa Pine.


Niche: These squirrels cause economic loss to home owners, forest managers and nut growers.


Range: They are found in the mountainous areas of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, parts of Wyoming and parts of North Central Mexico.


Interactions with other Species: they are preyed on by owls and sometimes a coyote will catch one.


Behavior: Its nest is normally built in a Ponderosa Pine. It is made in a group of twigs that have been infected with mistletoe. The nest is usually 20-40 feet above the ground, made with twigs and lined with grass, moss, leaves, pieces of bark, and feathers. It doesn't store its food in its nest, like other squirrels. They are active all year long. They will stay in their nest when it is very cold weather. They only leave to find food.


Main Foods: In the summer it normally eats the Ponderosa Pine’s seeds and buds. In the winter it eats the inner bark of the tree, and sometimes it eats the mistletoe and fungi growing on it.

Threats to Species: One of the threats is said to be the drought, one because it is killing trees. This then humans come in to thin out trees, so no fires can start, and it is taking away all of their homes, and their food source. Humans are also known to hunt them. Other animals, such as owls are also known to prey on them.



Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico           Page Author: Ms. Maggie


Species common name(s): American Badger, hog badger, New World badger, silver badger, tejón americano (Spanish and the French is blaireau d'Amérique. The North American Indian tribe the Lakota refer to the badger as hoka.).


Scientific Name: Taxidea taxus

 American Badger

 Range: The American badger can be found from the west coast to Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. It is also found in southern Canada in British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Habitat: The American Badger lives in open areas like plains and prairies, farmland and the edges of woods. They prefer to live in dry, open grasslands, fields, and pastures.


Physical Description: The American badger has a flat body with short legs and a triangular face with a long, pointed nose. It has long brown or black fur with white stripes on its cheeks and one stripe running from its nose to the back of its head. It has sharp front claws and measure 520 to 875 mm from head to tail. Badgers weigh 4 to 12 kg.

Main foods: The American Badger is carnivorous and actively hunts its prey. The Badgers diet consists of small mammals, birds, reptiles and arthropods. Badgers catch most of their food by digging. They can tunnel after ground dwelling rodents with amazing speed. Small burrowing mammals like ground squirrel, rats, gophers and mice make up most of the badger's diet. It digs its prey out of the ground with its strong, sharp claws. The badger will sometimes dig into the burrow of an animal and wait for it to return.

Behavior: Badgers are solitary animals. Badgers are mainly active at night, and tend to be inactive during the winter months. Badgers are excellent digging machines. The badger is well-protected from predators. Its muscular neck and thick, loose fur protect it when it is captured by a predator. This gives the badger time to turn on the predator and bite and claw it. When a badger is attacked, it also uses vocalizations. It hisses, growls, squeals and snarls. It also releases an unpleasant musk that may drive a predator away.

Niche: Badgers are highly specialized mammals that help control small mammal populations. Also, their burrows provide shelter for other species.

Interactions with other species: Unfortunately, badger burrows often present a hazard to cattle and horses. Such animals have been known to break legs by stepping into a badger hole. Badgers provide humans with some service because of their diet. Badgers eat many rodent pests, which may carry disease or damage crops. Coyotes often will stand by while a badger is burrowing and catch animals that come out of a tunnel trying to escape the badger. The badger also eats snakes, birds and reptiles. It will sometimes bury extra food to eat later.

Threats to the species: The American badger is classed as a "furbearer" in most of the US states in which this takes place. As a furbearer, the badger can generally only be hunted and trapped during a certain hunting season.





Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico

Page Author: James Broomfield


Species common name(s): Mexican Woodrat


Scientific Name: Neotoma mexicanaPackrat














Range: They stretch north from Southern Mexico up all the way to Colorado, with spotty patches living throughout the western part of Texas, and the Texan Panhandle, and stretching east into Arizona.  This means they live in all of the above places in New Mexico (see map).


Habitat: These live in canyon walls, rimrocks, sinkholes, and other rocky areas where they can build dens into crevices and/or cracks in the stone.  Their homes will be filled with, and surrounded by, whatever rubbish they can find, though they do not build the elaborate homes like other woodrats.  When no rocky retreats are available, they will build their homes in the roots of trees, in piles of logs, hollow logs, or abandoned cabins.


Physical Description: Mexican woodrats are medium sized compared to the rest of the rat family.  Its total length is 300 mm, with the tail being 215 mm of that length.  The hind leg (including the hind foot) is 28 mm long, and the woodrat’s total weight being 140 to 185 grams.  Their underparts are rough white hair, while their tops hairs are a medium brown or gray, with the shoulders and head a brown borderline black.  The tail is brown above, and white below.


Main foods: Their food consists of a variety of plants, including green vegetation, nuts, berries, acorns, and fungi. Much of their range is above the limits of growth of cactus, so these plants do not figure importantly in their diet although, if available, they are eaten with relish.


Behavior:  They climb readily, and are usually active at night.  They can have more than one home, though the main den is only furnished extravagantly.  When threatened, they can be extremely dangerous, fighting (literally) “tooth and nail”.  Breeding occurs in the spring, with at least one litter being born each summer (usually more), and each litter containing between one to four babies.


Niche: The main point of the Mexican Woodrat is to disperse seeds throughout the countryside in which it lives.


Interactions with other species: They rarely interact with humans, and when they do, they are often controlled or killed by the humans they are threatening.  Woodrats can carry diseases and ectoparasites.  They will steal food from other creatures if their own habitat is running low on food.  However, they generally do not need to interact with other species.  They are eaten by many predators, from the common mutts of humankind


Threats to the species: Woodrats eat a variety of food, so they cannot be threatened by hunger unless all food is wiped out.  However, the expansion of humans threaten the species, because of their sprawling dens, and humans often kill the creatures because of they try to build within the actual houses.





Page Author: Magz Gronewald


Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico      


Species common name: Grey Fox (English), Zorro gris (Spanish), zorro plateado (Venezuela).

Scientific name: Urocyon cinereoargenteus (New Mexican Grey Fox)


Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)


Range: The grey wolf is widespread throughout deciduous forests from northern South America up through most of central America and into southwestern, western, and eastern United States. They are not found in the Rocky Mountains or the far northwest of the United States. Small populations have recolonized parts of southern Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec.


Habitat: The grey fox is found in, and prefers, woodlands, but is also common in old field succession areas, preferring such habitat to cultivated or more open areas.



Physical Description: A grey fox has a coat of white black and grey hair. There is a dark stripe down the back and a small black mane. Parts of the neck, legs, face and underbelly are white or buff. Head-and-body length: 53-81 cm. Tail length: 27-44 cm. Weight: 3-7 kg, females slightly lighter than males. Shoulder height varies.



Main Foods: The grey fox is Omnivorous, so it’s diet includes small mammals and wild birds, as well as insects, fruit and vegetation. Their diet varies within their range. Some tend to be more insectivorous, some eat more vegetation, and some eat more meat, depending on what is available as prey. They rarely prey on domestic fowl. They are nocturnal, and so tend to hunt at night.


Social Behavior: The grey fox’s usual social unit is the mated pair. Their dens are located in brushy or woodland areas. The dens are rarely dug by the fox. The grey fox can climb trees and use hollows in standing trees, logs, buildings, and rock crevices.  The grey fox is found roaming thick brush and deep wooded areas, both in the trees and on the ground. They also like to relax in their dens normally founding a hollow tree, a rock crevice, or a woodpile.


Niche: The grey fox is omnivorous, so it eats and controls rodent population, as well as climbing trees and eating fruit. They climb trees to avoid leaving a scent trail.


Interactions with other species: The grey is prey to cougars, eagles, wolves, and coyotes. Grey foxes hunt small mammals and wild birds, as well as insects, fruit and vegetation.


Threats: The grey fox is prey to cougars, eagles, wolves, coyotes, and humans killing them for their fur. Half a million grey foxes are trapped annually to meet the still high and ever growing demand for fur. In Wisconsin alone, half the grey fox population is killed off annually. However, even with such a brutal impact on the species, the grey fox's numbers do not seem to decline.






Environmental Science Field Guide to New Mexico       Page Author: Jonah Melchor


Species common name(s): Piñon deer mouse

Scientific Name: Peromyscus Maniculatus














Range: This is a common species found throughout the southern Appalachian Mountains and western North Carolina. They are found in a variety of areas throughout New Mexico.


Habitat: The deer mouse lives in mixed forests, grasslands, deserts, and underground burrows. 


Physical Description: The deer mouse is large in size, has brown fur, a brown and white tail, big ears, and beady eyes.


Main foods: The species eats nuts, grains, and greens.

Behavior: Their nests are hollow balls of grass and weeds. Their gestation period lasts 22-27 days. They don’t hibernate, and during the winter they rest in piles of logs and gather food.

Niche: The deer mouse may play an important role by feeding on larvae and pupae of insects that are harmful to trees. If the populations of predators decrease, the deer mouse can become a serious pest.

Interactions with other species: The deer mouse is included in diets for many predators, including large birds, snakes, omnivorous mammals and grasshopper mice.


Threats to the species:  Habitat destruction can cause loss of population of the species, and preadators that eat them.