Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

The Naturalist's Apprentice: Illinois Mammal Facts

Illinois Mammal Facts


Objective: students are exposed to the diversity of Illinois mammals and to facts about selected species


Materials: multiple copies of Illinois Mammal Facts


Vocabulary: badger(s), carnivore, endangered, habitats, herbivores, insects, opossum, predators, woodchuck


Comments: While low in relative number of species, 60 to be exact, the mammals of Illinois are certainly some of the most well-known inhabitants of the state. Mammals can have profound effects upon the landscape by their many activities, such as selective feeding on plants; tunneling through the leaf litter in forests, which helps to retard runoff and prevent flooding; and consuming large numbers of undesirable organisms, particularly insects. Perhaps their most useful value, though, particularly in a state that has been extensively developed, is an aesthetic one. An ever-increasing number of people travel throughout Illinois to catch glimpses of wild animals in their native habitats. Wildlife sitings may be as simple as seeing a family of raccoons traipsing across your suburban front yard at dusk, or as complex as viewing the interactions of male white-tailed deer during the rut each fall. But whether the siting is of an elusive bobcat in the Shawnee Hills, the small brown blur of a white-footed mouse in an old field, or the nightly travels of bats at dusk, each siting is unique and contributes to our appreciation of wild Illinois.



1. Introduce the subject of Illinois mammals and have students name as many species of Illinois mammals as they can.

2. Distribute copies of Illinois Mammal Facts and have students complete the exercise. Answers: habitats, herbivores, opossum, predators, insects, southern, woodchuck, carnivore, badger--badgers, endangered

3. Have groups of students come up with their own puzzles and exchange them with other groups.


Study the statements below and unscramble the word found in each sentence. Write that word in the blank following each statement.


1. Although mammals can be found throughout Illinois, many species have particular places, called TTAABISH, where they prefer to live.__________________


2. Those species of mammals that are RVHERSEBIO seldom need to travel very far in search of food._____________________


3. The UOSMOSP is the only member of its order found in Illinois. Most of its relatives live in Australia._________________


4. Among the most voracious of RORDASTPE are the shrews. Some species eat three times their own weight every 24 hours!__________________


5. Little brown bats feed only on SSCTNEI.____________


6. Swamp rabbits are rare in Illinois and occur only in far NUETSOHR Illinois._________


7. The OKHUOWDCC is a burrowing, gnawing rodent that eats mostly plants, including certain field crops, such as clover, alfalfa, and soybeans.___________________


8. The gray fox can climb trees and is primarily a VACEINRRO.__________________


9. During most of the year, the home of the EDRBGA is a shallow burrow. SERDBGA only eat other animals.____________ _______________


10. The bobcat is GAEDNEEDRN in Illinois. This cat prefers a habitat of heavy forest cover with much underbrush broken by clearings and rocky outcrops.

Michael Jeffords, Center for Economic Entomology

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Subject: INHSPUB-2182
Last Modified 3/19/96

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