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Highlands County, Florida

by James N. Layne ,
1989, revised 1991, December 1999


Forty-four species of mammals have been recorded from the main property of the Station, including 34 native land mammals representing 65 percent of the species known from the state as a whole, and 10 exotic species and 1 nonnative subspecies. Among native species, the panther and Sherman’s fox squirrel occur only sporadically on the Station, whereas the remainder of the species have resident populations or occur regularly (black bear). The exotic species include four well-established species (nine-banded armadillo, red fox, black rat, house mouse, feral hog) and one (coyote) common in the general area but less so on the Station; two feral or free-ranging domestic mammals (dog, house cat) that are frequently present but without breeding populations; the European rabbit, known only from a single sighting of an escaped or released domestic variety; and the jaguarundi, included on the basis of reported sightings. A juvenile fox squirrel identified in life and from a close-up photograph as the midwestern subspecies Sciurus niger rufiventer that was observed in the area of the Station’s main grounds on one occasion was undoubtedly a released or escaped pet. Changes in the species composition and relative abundance of mammals on the Station since the survey of Rand and Host (1942) include reduction in the occurrence of the black bear and panther; elimination of an established population of the fox squirrel as the result of habitat changes resulting from absence of burning of its sandhill habitat; and the establishment of the nonindigenous nine-banded armadillo, red fox, and coyote. Present Florida populations of these three species have probably been derived both from introductions and natural spread from adjoining states (Layne 1997).

In the following list, the classification to species level follows Wilson and Reeder (1993) except that skunks are placed in a separate family, Mephitidae, on the basis of the study of Dragoo and Honeycutt (1997). Recent, widely-used synonyms of some generic or specific names are included in parentheses. Subspecific terminology follows Hall (1981), except for changes proposed by more recent studies, and common names follow Jones et al. (1997). Common names for subspecies included on federal or state endangered and threatened species lists are indicated by brackets. An asterisk denotes an exotic species, including introduced North American species or subspecies that did not naturally occur in Florida in historic time.

Species List

Order DIDELPHIMORPHIA - opossums

Family Didelphidae - opossums

  • Didelphis virginiana pigra Virginia Opossum

Order XENARTHRA - armadillos, sloths, and anteaters

Family Dasypodidae - armadillos

  • *Dasypus novemcinctus mexicanus Nine-banded Armadillo

Order INSECTIVORA - insectivores

Family Soricidae - shrews

  • Blarina carolinensis peninsulae Southern Short-tailed Shrew
  • Cryptotis parva floridana Least Shrew
  • Sorex longirostris eionis Southeastern Shrew

Family Talpidae - moles

  • Scalopus aquaticus australis Eastern Mole

Order CHIROPTERA - bats

Family Vespertilionidae - vespertilionid bats

  • Eptesicus fuscus osceola Big Brown Bat
  • Lasiurus interimedius floridanus Yellow Bat
  • Lasiurus seminolus Seminole Bat
  • Nycticeius humeralis humeralis Evening Bat
  • Pipistrellus subflavus floridanus Eastern Pipistrelle

Family Molossidae - free-tailed bats

  • Tadarida brasiliensis cynocephala Brazilian Free-tailed Bat

Order CARNIVORA - carnivores

Family Canidae - wolves, foxes, dogs, coyote

  • *Canis latrans subsp. Coyote
  • *Canis lupus (= familiaris) Domestic Dog
  • Urocyon cinereoargenteus floridanus Gray Fox
  • *Vulpes vulpes subsp. Red Fox

Family Felidae - cats

Family Mustelidae - weasels, badgers, and otters

  • *Felis sylvestris (= catus) House Cat
  • *Herpailurus (= Felis) yaguarondi Jaguarundi
  • Lynx (= Felis) rufus Bobcat
  • Puma (= Felis) concolor coryi [Florida] Panther

Family Mustelidae - weasels, badgers, and otters

  • Lontra canadensis lataxina River Otter
  • Mustela frenata peninsulae Long-tailed Weasel

Family Mephitidae - skunks

  • Mephitis mephitis elongata Striped Skunk
  • Spilogale putorius ambarvalis Eastern Spotted Skunk

Family Procyonidae - raccoons, coatis, and allies

  • Procyon lotor elucus Raccoon

Family Ursidae - bears

  • Ursus americanus floridanus [Florida] Black Bear

Order ARTIODACTYLA - even-toed hoofed mammals

Family Suidae - swine

  • *Sus scrofa Feral Hog

Family Cervidae - deer, elk, moose, and allies

  • Odocoileus virginianus seminolus White-tailed Deer

Order RODENTIA - rodents

Family Sciuridae - squirrels

  • Glaucomys volans querceti Southern Flying Squirrel
  • ciurus carolinensis extimus Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • Sciurus niger shermani [Sherman’s] Fox Squirrel
  • *Sciurus niger rufiventer Fox Squirrel

Family Muridae - rats and mice

Subfamily Arvicolinae

  • Neofiber alleni nigrescens Round-tailed Muskrat

Subfamily Murinae

  • *Mus musculus House Mouse
  • *Rattus rattus Black Rat

Subfamily Sigmodontinae

  • Ochrotomys nuttalli floridanus Golden Mouse
  • Oryzomys palustris natator Marsh Rice Rat
  • Peromyscus polionotus rhoadsi Oldfield Mouse
  • Peromyscus gossypinus palmarius Cotton Mouse
  • Podomys floridanus Florida Mouse
  • Reithrodontomys humulis humilis Eastern Harvest Mouse
  • Sigmodon hispidus floridanus Hispid cotton Rat

Order LAGOMORPHA - pikas, rabbits, and hares

Family Leporidae - rabbits and hares

  • *Oryctolagus cuniculus European Rabbit
  • Sylvilagus floridanus floridanus Eastern Cottontail
  • Sylvilagus palustris paludicola Marsh Rabbit

Literature Cited

  • Dragoo, J. W., and R. L. Honeycutt. 1997. Systematics of mustelid-like carnivores. Journal of Mammalogy 78:426-443.
  • Hall, E.R. 1981. The mammals of North America. Second edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York.. 1181 pp.
  • Jones, C., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, M. D. Engstrom, R. O. Bradley, D. J. Schmidly, C. A. Jones, and R. T. Baker. 1997. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1997. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University 173:1-19.
  • Layne, J. N. 1997. Nonindigenous mammals. Pp. 157-186 in Strangers in paradise: Impact and management of nonindigenous species in Florida. (D. Simberloff, D. C. Schmitz, and T. C. Brown, eds.). Island Press, Washington, D.C. and Covelo, CA. 467 pp.
  • Rand, A. L., and P. Host. 1942. Mammal notes from Highland [sic] County, Florida. Results of Archbold Expeditions, No. 45, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol.80, Art. 1. 21 pp.
  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M.. Reeder,editors. 1993. Mammal species of the world: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C., London. 1206 pp.