Mammalogy is the study of mammals. Mammals have fur or hair, are warm-blooded and females produce milk for their young. There are around 5,400 species of mammals worldwide. Many mammals hibernate in the winter months when food is scarce. The state mammal of North Carolina is the gray squirrel. Endangered mammal species in North Carolina include the Carolina Northern flying squirrel, gray bat, red wolf and the humpback whale.
Mammalogy Fun FactMammals’ sizes can vary greatly. The largest mammal is also the largest living animal, the Blue Whale, which is the length of three school busses! The smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat, which is only about an inch long!
More Mammalogy Tips
Click on the resources below to learn more about mammals.
- North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
- North Carolina State Parks Mammal Resources
- Natural North Carolina Project on iNaturalist
- Make Six Shares of Mammal Species. Be sure that these are wild (not at zoos or of pets or farm animals). Include “Mammalogy Badge” in the comments section when you submit each share. You cannot share an image of the same mammal species more than two times (for example, you can upload only two images of gray squirrels).
- View the video of Liesl Erb, Mammalogy Science Mentor. What type of mammal would you like to study? Learn about one mammal and create a drawing or painting of it in its habitat. Take a photo or scan of your artwork and send it to [email protected] We’ll share your drawing with Liesl!
- Complete ONE of the following:
- Participate in Carolina Candid Critters. Use a trail camera (also called a camera trap) to capture images of wildlife over a three-week period. Upload your observations to the Carolina Candid Critters website (you can also use photos as some or all of your Six Shares for requirement 1). You can borrow a trail camera at any LoanSpot or at these libraries. Send an email to let us know you completed it!
- Contribute an observation to Project Squirrel. Report your observations to the website or use the mobile app, and send us a screenshot of the thank you page to [email protected].
- Make a tracking pit. Spread sand over an area, and leave a sliced apple smeared with peanut butter or sunflower butter in the center of the area. Use the Nature Tracking website to identify footprints that are left behind and upload your observation as a Share to the ecoEXPLORE website.
Mammalogy Science Mentor
Dr. Liesl Erb is a Professor of Conservation Biology at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Liesl works with students and the public to better understand how human activities affect wild animals, particularly mammals in mountain regions. She and her students use live trapping, scat collection, hair snares, and camera traps to study several local species and communities of conservation concern, including Appalachian cottontail rabbits, Allegheny woodrats, and eastern spotted skunks. Her classes are also collaborating with several community partners to establish a bat citizen science project in Western North Carolina. Liesl collaborates on a long term study of American pika (a small rabbit relative) survival and stress in the Rocky Mountains. She has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Colorado College and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado – Boulder.