With 19 genera and about 103 extant species, this animal category forms the largest order of opossums in the western half of the planet earth. All the species belonging to the order Didelphimorphia are known as the marsupial animals which show great variation in size, i.e. the largest of them can measure up to the size of a large house cat, while the smallest one just reaches the size of a small mouse. Being omnivores, their diet consists of a large variety of foods including, insects, frogs, small mammals, vegetation, fruits, and so on.
Scientifically known as Sorex fumeus, it is a medium sized animal belonging to the category of shrews. The upper side of the body is colored dull grey, while the underparts are somewhat lighter. However, the tail shows the startling combination of two colors, that is, yellowish underneath and brownish top. With the two recognized subspecies, it inhabits the continent of North America, particularly the northeastern parts of the US and eastern parts of Canada. It is surprising to know that the animal weighs just 5 gram in weight with up to 11 cm of body length (including 4 cm tail).
The only surviving species of the genus Scalopus, its scientific name is written as Scalopus aquaticus where the latter term refers to the species of this organism. The natural habitation stretches across various political demarcations of the North American continent, including Canada, Mexico and the United States. This medium-sized animal has large, spade-like forefeet that are hairless and have sharp nails which are used for digging. Eastern mole is very voracious in its mode of eating and can consume a large variety of food items (insects, earthworms, vegetation and meat of other animals) measuring up to 100% of its body weight.
Big Brown Bat
The wingspan of the wild big brown bat measures up to 33 cm and the maximum weight is 20 grams which makes it four times heavier than the smoky shrew. In the binomial nomenclature of naming organism, it is termed as Eptesicus fuscus where the former word refers to the genus and the latter denotes species. These bats feed on a variety of small prey including beetles, wasps, and other insects. However, they catch such organisms during their speedy flight and often have to change their direction briskly. So for as big brown bat habitat is concerned, its population spreads across the vast stretches of the North American continent and also inhabits the extreme northern parts of South America.
Also known as snowshoe rabbit, it is a North American species of hare that feeds on a variety of plant material. The type of vegetation that the organisms feed on varies from season to season. Because of their natural habitation in North America, their scientific name bears regional touch, i.e. Lepus americanus. The common name, snowshoe, refers to the large size of their hind feet which not only help in walking and hopping on the snow, but also protect them from sinking in the snow.
Groundhog or Woodchuck
Alternatively known as whistle pig or land beaver, this rodent animal is grouped in the family of Sciuridae. The natural habitation of this ground squirrel stretches across various parts of North America even to the extreme north region of Alaska. Having herbivorous style of eating, they consume a variety of vegetation including wild grasses, agricultural crops and berries. The burrows of Marmota monax are used for the purpose of rearing young, sleeping and hibernating.
These large, semi-aquatic rodents have something very special and surprising about them, i.e. they are famous for building homes (lodges to live), canals and dams! Castor Canadensis is the scientific name of this primarily nocturnal animal, whereas the genus Castor has only two extant species. One of the species inhabits the North American continent while the other one flourishes in Europe and Asia. In previous some decades, the North American population of beaver species has declined from 60 million to just 10 million which is mainly because of the habitat loss and overhunting. For feeding purposes, they use sharp front teeth for cutting plant material and trees.
Scientifically known as Peromyscus maniculatus, this genus of the mice shows differences with the common laboratory mouse and the house mice species. The deer mice habitat is limited to the continental United States. Another common species of this genus (Peromyscus leucopus) inhabits the same geographical region. This is the most populous mammalian genus on the planet earth, but these animals have now become notorious as they are regarded as the carriers of Hantavirus that causes potentially fatal diseases in humans. Being omnivorous in their dietary style, the deer mouse feeds on a variety of food material including insects, leaves, fruits, seeds and fungi.
North American Porcupine
This large rodent animal species is also known as common porcupine or Canadian porcupine, but the biological system of naming describes it as Erethizon dorsatum where the former part refers to its genus and the latter denotes species. As the very name indicates, the porcupine habitat includes the forested areas of western US, Canada and the state of Alaska. All the seven subspecies of this animal are active at night and search for food which may include berries, roots, twigs and some other types of vegetation. Though they are not found to hibernate, but the sleep duration increases in the winter season. In the chilly weather, for food, they have to rely only on tree bark and the conifer needles.
In colloquial language, this medium-sized North American Mammal is simply pronounced as 'coon', but has also got a number of other common names, such as northern raccoon and common raccoon. The raccoon habitat extends across various part of the North American continent. Measuring up to 70 cm in body length, the maximum weight of this animal ranges from 3.5 to 9 kilogram. Being omnivorous in its style of eating, the raccoon species consumes a variety of invertebrates, vertebrates, plant material and other types of vegetation. Though primarily nocturnal, sometimes, they go in search of food in the daylight and make use of available resources.