Venomous Snakes of Missouri

If a Missouri snake is venomous: It is in the pit viper family – it will have a distinguishable pit between each eye and nostril. These pits, sometimes referred to as loreal pits or fossa, are used as infrared-detecting organs, allowing the viper to sense its prey. Its pupils will be vertical slits. It will […]

Carnivora of Missouri

Missouri is home to 13 species of carnivore ranging from the tiny least weasel, weighing a mere 2 ounces, to the 240 pound black bear (Hunter 2011, Reid 2006). Carnivore in the scientific sense of the word refers not simply to a species that eats meat, but to a species belonging to the order Carnivora. Species that fall […]


Suborder: Myomorpha (mice, rats, gerbils, jerboas, and relatives): Superfamily Dipodoidea: Family Dipodidae (birch mice, jerboas, and jumping mice): Genus: Zapus Meadow jumping mouse - Z. hudsonius ​Superfamily Muroidea: Nearly every species of myomorpha within Missouri fall under the superfamily Muroidea. Members can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and they live in a wide […]


Suborder: Castorimorpha (beavers, gophers, kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and relatives): Family Castoridae (beavers): Genus: Castor North American beaver - C. canadensis North America's largest rodent. Beavers are semiaquatic (Reid 179). Homes are made along lakes, rivers, streams, sometimes ponds, and even swamps. Well known for making dams, beavers will typically do this in lakes and […]


Suborder: Hystricomorpha (hystricognath rodents): Family Myocastoridae (coypus): Genus: Myocastor Coypu - M. Coypus Native to South America, the Coypu has been introduced to both North America and Europe where the animal is commonly known as the Nutria. They resemble muskrats, however Nutria are significantly larger weighing anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds. A surefire way […]