The Pine Barrens lost its top predators black bears, cougars and wolves, long ago to hunting and trapping, though black bears are still seen occasionally. Large mammals are now restricted to white-tailed deer, coyotes, the rare bobcat, beavers and reclusive river otters. White-tailed deer are plant-eaters which have proliferated in the Pine Barrens (as elsewhere in the country) due to development pressure and the fragmentation of forests, which creates more edible plants of the forest edge than does a continuous, mature forest. We also find red and gray fox, mink, long-tailed weasel, southern bog lemming, 8 species of bats, as well as raccoon, muskrat, various squirrels, chipmunks, voles and mice.
Description: Dense rich brown furr. Naked, scaley, paddle-like tail and webbed feet.
Habitat: Found along streams and small bodies of water. Fells tress and builds dams and lodges of sticks and mud.
Body: 25″ – 30″ Tail: 9″ – 10″
Description: Salt and pepper gray, shading to buffy underneath. Gray face and white throat. Bushy tail with median black stripe.
Habitat: Dens in burrows. Omnivorous. Common throughout Pine Barrens.
Body: 21 – 29″ Tail: 11 – 16″
Description: Grizzled gray with black mask over eyes. Alternating rings of yellowish white and black on tail.
Habitat: generally lives near water. Dens in burrows. Common throughout Pine Barrens.
Body: 18 – 28″ Tail: 8 – 12″
Description: River Otters are elusive denizens of Pine Barrens streams and wetlands. Happy in fresh and brackish waters, they most often are reported in the lower stretches of rivers flowing into the Atlantic coast estuaries. But they are also sometimes seen in cranberry bogs and reservoirs in the heart of the Pine Barrens. Otters have not been studied in the Pine Barrens. They once thrived throughout Canada and most of the United States, and while they have been extirpated in most of their historic range by humans, they are being reintroduced successfully in many places. Feeding mainly on fish, Otters will also eat shellfish, frogs and small mammals and birds. They are reported to enjoy blueberries. Given their secretive habits, one is far more likely to see otter-signs, such as the slides they wear in stream banks, than to catch sight of an otter itself.
Habitat: Found only in or near streams or lakes. Occasional in suitable Pine Barrens habitats. Tail thick at base. Webbed feet.
Body: 26 – 30″ Tail: 12 – 17″
Southern Bog Lemming
Description: Mouse-like. Brownish gray. Ears short, nearly concealed. Shallow groove near outer edge of upper gnawing tooth.
Habitat: Feeds on berries and vegetation. occasional in open lowland bogs with sphagnum, sedges, and heaths.
Body: 3 1/2 – 4 1/2″ Tail: 1/3 – 7/8″
Description: Reddish in summer, grayish in winter. White-tailed Deer are plant-eaters which have proliferated in the Pine Barrens (as elsewhere in the country) due to the fragmentation of forests, which creates more edible plants of the forest edge than does a continuous, mature forest.
Habitat: Common throughout the Pine Barrens.
Height: 3 – 4 feet at shoulder