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Wild About Illinois Carnivores!

Mammals have hair/fur, four limbs (arms/legs) and a large brain. They are warm-blooded, that is, they can keep their body temperature at the same level no matter what the outside temperature is. Females of most mammal species give birth to young that have developed inside a special organ called the uterus. Some mammal species lay eggs instead of having live birth, but none of these species live in Illinois. After birth, mammal young are fed for a time by milk produced in the female’s mammary glands. Rodents are small- to medium-sized mammals. 

They have incisors that grow continually throughout their life and must be worn down by gnawing on hard materials. Rodents have a large gap between their incisors and the rest of their teeth. This order contains the largest group of mammals in Illinois.​​

Family and Species Gallery

Kingdom: Animalia - Animals are multicellular organisms that rely on other organisms for nourishment. There cells do not have cell walls. Most animals are capable of movement at least in some portion of their life cycle. Reproduction is generally sexual, but in some animals asexual reproduction may be utilized at certain times.
Phylum: Chordata - The Phylum Chordata contains the vertebrate animals. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes are included in this phylum. These animals have a notochord at some point in their development. They have a tubular nerve cord along the back. Gill slits and a tail are present at some point in their life cycle. They have an internal skeleton.
Class: Mammalia (Mammals) - Mammals are warm-blooded. Most mammals have young born after developing inside the mother's body in a special organ called a uterus. After birth, the young are fed with milk produced in the female’s mammary glands. A mammal has a large and complex brain.
Order: Carnivora (Carnivores) - These mammals feed primarily on prey that they capture. They are large- to medium-sized mammals with claws on their feet.
Family: Canidae (Coyotes, Dogs, Foxes, Jackals and Wolves) - Coyotes, wolves and foxes have elongated legs. They have five toes on each front foot and four toes on each back foot. Their ears stand up straight. The snout is long and narrow. They communicate by barking or howling.
     coyote (Canis latrans)
     red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
     gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
     gray wolf (Canis lupus) [state endangered]

Family: Procyonidae (Coatis, Raccoons and Relatives) - The raccoon has a long tail with alternating color bands. There are five elongated toes on each of the front and back feet.
     raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Family: Mustelidae (Badgers, Otters, Weasels and Relatives) - Weasels, minks, badgers and otters are a varied group. Many of them have a long, slender body with short legs. The ears are small and rounded, and the snout is short. Scent glands are present at the base of the tail.
     least weasel (Mustela nivalis)
     long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata)
     American mink (Mustela vison)
     American badger (Taxidea taxus)
     North American river otter (Lontra canadensis)

Family: Mephitidae (Skunks and Stink Badgers) - Skunks have a black and white color pattern and well-developed anal scent glands. The body is broad, and the snout is long. The tail is furred. They are nocturnal and eat a variety of foods.
     striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

​Family: Felidae (Cats) - A cat has a short face and small ears. It has five toes on each of the front feet and four toes on each of the back feet. The claws are rectangular and retractable. The teeth are adapted for cutting.
     bobcat (Lynx rufus)​​