Nature and Science

There are over 50 other species of mammals that can be observed in the park, including our namesake, the black bear. The lakes and streams have beaver, otter, muskrat, and mink, and tracks from other mammals seeking a drink of water may be found along the stream and lake edge. Coyotes, snowshoe hare, and porcupine may be observed in woodlands, fields, and forests, depending on the time of year and watchfulness of the observer. White-tailed deer are common throughout the mainland and on North Manitou Island where they were introduced in the 1920’s. Raccoons continue to benefit from man’s activities and are common as well—be sure to store your food properly to keep raccoons, chipmunks and bear away from your camp. Be sure to enjoy the occasional serenade of a coyote family as you are settling into bed at your campsite. Bobcats are elusive and live in some of the more wild parts of the park and neighboring swamps. If you do not see these animals during your hikes, then watch for their tracks which are commonly seen in sandy or muddy areas, or in the snow.

Many of the small mammals in the park are inconspicuous such as meadow voles, deer mice, weasels, and shrews, but eastern chipmunks are numerous and are not inconspicuous. They frequent the campgrounds, especially on South Manitou Island and can be a nuisance for campers. Fox squirrels and gray squirrels, including the black phase of the gray squirrel, are common. A sighting of a northern flying squirrel should be treasured since they are primarily a nocturnal (active at night) species. Meadow vole runways are exposed as the snow melts and let you know how busy they were during the winter. Long lines of protruded soil tell of an eastern mole who is feeding on earthworms under the ground. Bats are busy little insectivores that are seen flying overhead at dusk while they feed on moths and mosquitos. Among the bats found in the park are the big brown bat, hoary bat, little brown bat, silver-haired bat and red bat.


Mammals of Sleeping Bear Dunes

Loading results...

    Last updated: February 20, 2024

    Park footer

    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    9922 Front Street
    Empire, MI 49630


    231 326-4700

    Contact Us