White-tailed deer fawn hiding in the brush.
White-tailed deer fawn

NPS photo

The diverse forest and wetland communities of Pictured Rocks are home to more than 40 mammal species. Dense foliage and large tracts of roadless land provide many hiding places for mammals, so sightings of any particular species are sporadic.

White-tailed deer are somewhat less abundant in this environment than other parts of Michigan due to lack of adequate habitat and deep lake-effect snows that often force them to move south in winter. The lakeshore is part of large gray wolf home ranges that extend far beyond park boundaries; individuals and packs pass through but are not known to breed here or remain in the park for any length of time. Cougar and lynx may also pass through periodically, although no official sightings or evidence have been reported/confirmed.

I Want To See A Moose And A Bear!
Moose sightings are extremely rare in the park although tracks and scat are occasionally found. The wetlands and cedar swamps of the park, particularly in the Beaver Basin Wilderness, are likely moose habitat. Black bear wander throughout the park and are seen only infrequently, usually when crossing a road. Other large mammals documented in the lakeshore but rarely seen include bobcat and badger.

American marten and fisher were extirpated from the Upper Peninsula by the 1930's but have made a comeback with the help of reintroduction programs. Northern river otter numbers have increased as well in recent decades. Beaver are common in the park and their activities are noticeable in many locations near streams and ponds. A lucky hiker may come across a porcupine or snowshoe hare in the backcountry. Coyote and red fox are present throughout. Opossum have been moving north and may already be in the area. Of the park's many smaller mammals, chipmunks are most commonly seen.

Six species of bats are present in the national lakeshore, mainly during the warmer months. Look for bats in summer just after dusk as they hunt insects over open spaces nears lakes and ponds. Most spend the winter in abandoned mines and caves throughout the western Upper Peninsula. White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated bat populations in more than 34 states, reached Michigan in early 2014 and has already had an impact on the park's bats.

Caribou historically ranged throughout the Upper Peninsula, but were rare by 1850 and last seen around 1910, likely disappearing due to habitat changes brought about by human activity. The last wolverine sighting in the Upper Peninsula occurred in the 1880's.


Mammals at Pictured Rocks

  • American Badger  Taxidea taxus
  • Arctic Shrew  Sorex arcticus
  • Beaver  Castor canadensis
  • Big Brown Bat  Eptesicus fuscus
  • Black Bear  Ursus americanus
  • Bobcat  Lynx rufus
  • Coyote Canis latrans
  • Eastern Chipmunk  Tamias striatus
  • Eastern Red Bat  Lasiurus borealis
  • Eastern Woodchuck  Marmota monax
  • Fisher  Martes pennant
  • Gray Wolf  Canis lupus 
  • Hoary Bat  Lasiurus cinereus
  • Least Chipmunk  Tamias minimus              
  • Little Brown Bat  Myotis lucifugus
  • Long-tailed Weasel  Mustela frenata
  • Marten  Martes americana
  • Masked Shrew  Sorex cinereus
  • Meadow Jumping Mouse  Zapus hudsonius  
  • Meadow Vole  Microtus pennsylvanicus           
  • Mink  Mustela vison
  • Moose  Alces alces
  • Muskrat  Ondatra zibethicus
  • Northern Flying Squirrel  Glaucomys sabrinus
  • Northern Myotis  Myotis septentrionalis
  • Porcupine  Erethizon dorsatum
  • Pygmy Shrew  Sorex hoyi
  • Raccoon  Procyon lotor  
  • Red-backed Vole  Clethrionomys gapperi  
  • Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
  • Red Squirrel  Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
  • River Otter  Lontra canadensis
  • Short-tailed Shrew  Blarina brevicauda
  • Short-tailed Weasel (Ermine)  Mustela erminea
  • Silver-haired Bat  Lasionycteris noctivagans
  • Snowshoe Hare  Lepus americanus  
  • Southern Flying Squirrel  Glaucomys volans     
  • Star-nosed Mole  Condylura cristata               
  • Striped Skunk  Mephitis mephitis
  • White-tailed Deer  Odocoileus virginianus 
  • Woodland Deer Mouse  Peromyscus maniculatus
  • Woodland Jumping Mouse  Napaeozapus insignis

Last updated: November 23, 2021

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