A few New Mexico mammals


As of August 2019, a new section. As images appear, they'll be arranged in alphabetical order by taxon. The exception is the porcupines of the Rio Grande Bosque, which get their own page.


Please don't take my IDs as authoritative. These pages of nature photos represent one person's voyage of discovery, not the studies of a trained expert. If you see something I've misidentified, please contact me via my "Contact" page, which is tabbed at the top.




Cervidae: Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)



Canidae: Coyote (Canis latrans)

Max Evans is no longer with us—he died in August 2020—but in October of that year I found a coyote in his back yard. How appropriate. The coyote was unafraid of me, but wasn't threatening either. A few months later I found the same coyote (sometimes called the Ridgecrest Coyote) in the same yard, enjoying a bit of sun.


Coyotes have infiltrated Albuquerque; my March 2020 photo shows one on a mud bank in the middle of the Rio Grande. The September 2020 photo shows one of a pair of coyotes on the west bank of the river; you can see a YouTube video of those two coyotes by clicking here.


Procyonidae: Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

In Albuquerque, as in so many other places, raccoons are a pest. Handsome creatures, though. The low-light photos from October 2020 show a raccoon raiding food we set out for birds and ground squirrels. In the June 2021 photo of tracks, you can see a print from a hind paw on the left and a print from a front paw on the right.


Ursidae: Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

To see my YouTube video of these bears, click here.



Molossidae? Free-Tailed Bat?

In May 2021 I was surprised to see a bat flying in broad daylight. It kept diving through a cloud of tiny insects that had formed over an irrigation drain. At times it plucked insects off the surface of the water. The pictures are the best I could do. A mammologist I know looked at them, and thinks that they may be of a free-tailed bat (Molossidae), possibly a Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis). He informed me that while daytime feeding is unusual, it does happen, especially if a bat is disturbed out of its sleep.



Soricidae: Montane or Dusky Shrew (Sorex monticolus)

Montane Shrew, Dusky Shrew, Sorex monticolus, New Mexico
Found dead in the Jemez Mountains, August 2019



Leporidae: Jackrabbit (Lepus)

Jackrabbit, Lepus, New Mexico
Albuquerque, July 2020


Leporidae: Cottontail (Sylvilagus)



Castoridae: North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

No photos of actual beavers; they're home when I'm out and about, and vice versa. But evidence of beavers can be found all along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque and Corrales. Near the river it's common to see chisel-like tooth marks on sapling stumps, and drag marks leading from the stumps to the river. Beavers are also willing to cut down cottonwoods that are far too large to move. Once they do that they cut off the small ends of branches to drag away, or gnaw the cambium off the trunks and larger branches.


Cricetidae: Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus, New Mexico
Rio Grande Bosque, Albuquerque, May 2021

Four reasons this isn't a beaver: (1) the ears aren't prominent; (2) the back is out of the water; (3) the tail is long and skinny; (4) we saw it during the day. For a short video of this muskrat swimming, click here.


Sciuridae: Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis)

According to the Los Alamos Nature Center, "The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel is similar to a chipmunk with the same overall appearance. However, the ground squirrel lacks the chipmunk’s facial stripes."


Sciuridae: Rock Squirrel (Spermophilus variegates)

"Steve" lives in my back yard. Like the rest of his species, he's a ground dweller. Once released in the yard (after being captured by an irate gardener in the neighborhood), he tunneled under the concrete slab next to my kitchen door. The only time I see him is when he darts out to nab the walnut halves and other delicacies I put out for him. I can see why gardeners want to get rid of rock squirrels; one of his first acts was to dig up my favorite flower bed, tossing aside the daffodil bulbs while stealing the tulip bulbs. My wife came up with the name and gender, but Steve could be a she.


Rock squirrels can climb trees, hence my photo from July 2021. That rock squirrel wasn't looking for food, just enjoying a good view of the Rio Grande.


Sciuridae: American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)


Sciuridae: Colorado or Least Chipmunk (Tamias [or Neotamias] quadrivittatus or minimus

Chipmunk species are not easy to tell apart. I know that these photos are of one of two species, the Colorado chipmunk or the least chipmunk, because those are the only two species documented for the Sandia Mountains.