Mammals of Acadiana Park

Family Didelphidae
 

 

Virginia Opossum - Didelphis virginiana
 

A dark colored, nocturnal marsupial with a white face and leathery ears. Body fur is bi-colored: white at the base and dark at the tip. Guard hairs are long and white. Adults have 50 teeth which is more than any other Louisiana mammal. Males are slightly larger than females. They are about the size of a domestic cat. Will eat just about anything; insects, fruits, berries, birds, eggs, and carrion as well as scavenge in trash cans. Extremely common in the park.
 

Family Soricidae
 

 

Short-tailed Shrew - Blarina brevicauda
 

A dark gray furred, nocturnal mammal with a short-tail, long snout, and small eyes. Often mistaken for a mole because of its size, small eyes, and long snout. Shrews have five digits with toenails on each limb. Nest under semi-permanent structures and burrow into the ground a few inches with several tunnels leading to nest. Have a voracious appetite and eat just about anything it can catch, especially insects. Its saliva is toxic and causes severe pain with a bite. Common in the park.
 

 

Family Talpidae
 

 

Eastern Mole - Scalopus aquaticus
 

A dark gray furred, burrowing mammal with a short-tail, long snout, and small eyes. Often mistaken for the shrew because of its size, small eyes, and long snout. Have five webbed digits (that help move dirt) with very long toenails on front limbs and palms facing outward to aid in digging. Common in the park.
 

Family Vespertilionidae
 

 

Red Bat - Lasiurus borealis
 

A red bat with some frosting on the upper body. Has short, round ears. Average length about 4 inches. Weigh 3/8 - ½ oz. A nocturnal insectivore. Females have from 1 to 4 young. Roost in open, exposed places like branches or in Spanish moss. Present in Lafayette Parish. No documentation at the park.
 

 

Seminole Bat - Lasiurus seminolus
 

A brownish-red bat with some frosting on the upper body. Has short, round ears. Average length about 4 inches. Weigh 1/4 to ½ oz. A nocturnal insectivore. Females have 1 to 4 young. Roost in clumps of Spanish moss. Present in Lafayette Parish. No documentation at the park.
 

 

Hoary Bat - Lasiurus cinereus
 

A dark-brown bat with white tipped body hairs and a yellow face and chin. Average length about 5 inches. Weigh 3/4 - 1 1/4 oz. A nocturnal insectivore. The largest bat in Louisiana. Uncommon in Lafayette Parish. No documentation at the park.
 

 

Northern Yellow Bat - Lasiurus intermedius
 

A large yellowish brown bat with long wings and short ears. Average length about 4 2/3 inches. Weigh 3/8 - 3/4 oz. A nocturnal insectivore. Roost in clumps of Spanish moss or leaves. Present in Lafayette Parish. No documentation at the park.
 

Family Molossidae
 

 

Brazilian Free-tailed bat- Tadarida brasiliensis
 

Brazilian Free-tailed bat Tadarida brasiliensis A dark brown or dark gray bat with leathery ears. Average length is about 4 inches. A nocturnal insectivore. Roost in buildings, in colonies. Females have 1 to 2 young. Will not reject any young wanting to nurse. Eat up to one-third its body weight. Most common bat in the United States. No documentation at the park.
 

Family Dasypodidae

Armadillo
 

Nine-banded armadillo - Dasypus novemcinctus
 

A mostly nocturnal mammal with brownish bony plates covering its head, body and tail. Stomach and ears are soft and sparsely haired. It has long toenails and can dig very fast. Many animals use abandoned armadillo burrows. Four young are always born and they are either all female or all male. Primary food is earthworms and arthropods. They scratch surface of soil for insects but in times of drought will dig deep to find insects. Many times they dig up gardens to consume insects during droughts. Extremely common in the park.
 

Family Leporidae

Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Cottontail - Sylvilagus floridanus
 

A brownish to grayish rabbit with a rust colored nape. Has distinct white tail that looks like a ball of cotton. Average weight is 2½ pounds. Will swim only if it has to. Average litter size is 3.7 and average number of litters per year is 3 to 4. They nest in thickets or in a thick stand of grass, they do not nest in burrows. Human activity takes a heavy toll on young in nests. Principal predators include humans, great horned owls, bobcats, foxes, and coyotes as well as snakes and domestic dogs and cats. Strictly an herbivore. They are mostly nocturnal. Common in the park.
 

Swamp Rabbit

Swamp Rabbit - Sylvilagus aquaticus
 

A brownish rabbit mottled with black above. Has distinct white tail that looks like a ball of cotton. Is the largest of the cottontails. Average weight is 4½ pounds. Average litter size is 2-3 and average litters per year is 2. The species "aquaticus" means "found in water." This refers to the rabbits preference for moist habitat's and its choice to swim just to move about. The Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) will swim only if it has to. They nest in dense brush as well as logs and maybe in burrows. They feed on aquatic and terrestrial vegetation. They are mostly nocturnal. No documentaion in the park.
 

Family Sciuridae

Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel - Sciurus niger
 

A rust colored squirrel with black and gray highlights that has a solid black color phase. Average weight is 1 1/8-2 1/3 lbs. Average litter size is 2-4 and average litters per year is 2. Largest tree squirrel in the United States. Diurnal, most active in morning and afternoon. Mostly arboreal. In summer leaf nests are built in tree crotch; in winter they nest in tree cavities. Feed on nuts, acorns, seeds, buds, fruits, grains, insects, roots, bulbs, and berries. Extremely common in the park.
 

Squirrel

Southern Flying Squirrel - Glaucomys volans

Southern flying squirrels have gray brown fur on the back and a white belly. The tail is also gray and flattened. They have large eyes due to nocturnal habits. The flying squirrel glides using a furry membrane called a patagium that extends from the front to the rear legs. Body length is 21-26 cm and the tail is 8-12 cm. They eat fruit, nuts, flowers, insects, mushrooms, carrion, and bird eggs.

Family Castoridae

 

American Beaver - Castor canadensis

American beavers have a large, flat tail which they use to slap the surface of the water to signal danger. They have webbed hind feet and smaller front paws with claws that are not webbed. The eyes have a membrane that allows the beaver to see underwater. A thick layer of fat insulates the beaver from cold water temperatures. The dark brown fur is a double coat that has coarse outer hairs and fine inner hairs. Adults weigh on average 44 lb. but range from 24-71lb. Body length is 29–35 in, with an additional 8-14 in. with the tail.

Family Capromyidea

 

Nutria - Mysocastor coypus

Nutria have dark brown outer fur and soft, dense grey inner fur. Adults typically weigh 9–20 lb., are 16–24in in length, with an additional 12-18in tail. They have a white patch on the muzzle, webbed hind feet, and large, yellowish orange incisors. The tail is round compared to the muskrat or beaver which has a flattened tail. They live in burrows near stretches of water where they feed on river plant stems.

Family Canidae  

Coyote

Coyote - Canis latrans

Coyotes range from 15-44 lb. in weight. The color and texture of the fur varies from grayish brown to a yellowish gray. The throat and belly are white. The forelegs, head, muzzle, and feet are reddish brown. The back has a black dorsal stripe with a dark cross around the shoulder and the tail has a black tip. They are mostly nocturnal and eat small mammals including squirrels, rabbits, and mice. They also eat carrion, fruit, and vegetables.

 

Red Wolf - Canis rufus

The red wolf is gray-black with a reddish tint. They are about 26in in height and 4.5-5.5ft long including the tail. They weigh 45-80 lbs. The red wolf is smaller and more slender than the gray wolf. They hunt small mammals including raccoons, rabbits, and rodents. They communicate through vocalizations including howls, barks, growls, and yaps. The howl sounds similar to a coyote’s, but has a lower pitch that lasts longer. Due to predator control programs and loss of habitat, red wolves were on the brink of extinction. A successful effort has been made to capture, breed, and release some back into the wild. Interactions with coyotes have also put them at risk of hybridization, minimizing their chance to remain as a unique species.

 

Red Fox -Vulpes fulva

The red fox has a dense, long rusty reddish coat with a fluffy tail. The tip of the tail is white. Color variations occur geographically. The chin, lower lips, throat, and front of the chest are white and the paws are black. The canine teeth are relatively long. Their diet consists of small mammals, insects, fruits, berries, and plants. They are very agile and are great swimmers.

Family Ursidae

 

Louisiana Black Bear - Ursus americanus luteolus

A subspecies of the American Black Bear - Ursus americanus

The black bear has long black hair and a short tail. Males may weigh more than 600 pounds. The muzzle is a yellowish-brown. They have five toes with curved claws on the front and hind feet. Louisiana black bears live in bottomland hardwood forests, brackish and freshwater marshes, and wooded levees along canals and bayous. Their diet consists of vegetation, carrion, fruit, nuts, insects, and fish. Black bears were considered endangered until 2016 when they removed from the list due to habitat restoration programs that allowed the population to bounce back.

Family Procyonidae

Raccoon

Northern Raccoon -Procyon lotor

Raccoons are medium sized mammals measuring between 16 and 28 in, not including the bushy tail. The body weight of an adult raccoon can range from 4-30 lb. The most prominent physical feature of the raccoon is the white face with black fur around the eyes. They have rounded ears bordered by white fur. The fur on the body is long and stiff, gray to brown. The underfur is dense and keeps them warm during the winter. They are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods including insects, fruits, nuts, fish, and amphibians.

Family Mustelidae

 

North American Mink - Mustela vison

The mink has a long, slender body with a thick tail and is about 2 feet long. It has small ears and eyes. The fur is brown to black with white on its chin throat. Its fur is very soft, thick, and waterproof. The feet are slightly webbed. Its diet consists of rabbits, mice, fish, snakes, frogs, and birds. They build dens along river banks or find an abandoned beaver or muskrat den. They are good swimmers and can dive to a depth of 16ft.

 

Striped Skunk - Mephitis mephitis

The fur of a striped skunk is black with a white stripe extending from head to tail. They have a bushy, black tail, short ears, and black eyes. Adults weigh approximately 4-10 lb. The forefeet have five curved claws adapted for digging. They possess two scent glands containing oily, yellow-colored musk which can be sprayed. Striped skunks are an opportunistic feeder known to eat insects, crustaceans, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.

Family Felidae

 

Bobcat - Lynx rufus

The bobcat has a tan or grayish brown coat with black streaks on the body and dark bars on the forelegs and tail. It has black tufted-ears and a black-tipped stubby tail. The hair below the ears gives the bobcat a fuller looking face. It has whiskers and yellow eyes with black pupils. Adults can weigh 9-40lbs. They eat rabbits, insects, birds, and small rodents. The bobcat is territorial and solitary. It lives in wooded areas and swampland.

Family Cervidae

 

White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus

The coat is a reddish-brown or gray-brown depending on the season. The underside of its tail is white which it will use to signal other deer when alarmed. They have horizontally slit pupils allow for good night and day vision. The size of white-tailed deer varies greatly. Males will regrow their antlers every year. They eat legumes and forage on shoots, leaves, prairie forbs, and grasses. They also eat acorns, fruit, mushrooms, and poison ivy.