J. L. Boone, Ph.D., Ecology
Boone, J. L. 1988. The Response of Small Mammals to Fire, and the Small Mammal Populations on Bodie Island and Selected Areas of Hatteras Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina. CPSU Technical Report No. 48. 43 pp.

Annotated List of Terrestrial Mammals on Bodie and Hatteras Islands, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina.

James L. Boone
School of Forest Resources, U.S. National Park Service, Cooperative Park Studies Unit, Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602

Annotated List of Terrestrial Mammals

This list was based on trapping, systematic observation, and casual observation by the author, plus reports from reliable observers. Animals not observed, but thought to occur, are not included in the list. These animals include various bats and rodents, gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), mink (Mustela vison), and river otter (Lutra canadensis). Park-wide lists can be found in Quay (1959) and Department of the Interior (1984). Abundance was based, in part, on the ease of observation/capture of the animal or its sign. The definition of abundance is relative: Abundant (seen frequently with causal observation), Common (seen if looked for), Uncommon (not always seen if looked for), and rare (very few observations). These definitions apply to the proper habitats for each animal. Nomenclature and taxonomic ordering follows the Revised Checklist of North American Mammals North of Mexico, 1986 (Jones et. al. 1986).

Miscellaneous mammal observations, recorded between February and September, 1987, are summarized in this list. These observations were not a representative sample, but were observations made while in the field for various reasons (e.g. driving, sampling vegetation, avian surveys, trapping). They are informative, but they are not statistically sound.

Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Uncommon. These were observed and caught in brushy areas and around human habitation on Bodie Island. Quay (1959) reported that this species was extinct on Hatteras Island, but two road kills were observed near Buxton Woods during the summer of 1987 (Sam Cooper, pers. comm.).

Southern Short-tailed Shrew (Blarina carolinensis)
Rare. Only one animal was caught, but this animal was a new record for the Outer Banks.

Least Shrew (Cryptotis parva)
Locally or seasonally abundant. Caught in all habitat types except pines on Bodie Island. Associated with wet areas. Three skulls were recovered from an owl pellet at Little Kinnakeet, Hatteras Island.

Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus)
Common. Dune-grasslands. None of these were caught, but sign was observed in dune areas almost down the high tide line on Hatteras and Bodie Islands, including in the Tern colony at Cape Point.

Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)
Rare? Skulls were collected from an owl pellet found on Bodie Island. Bats are an uncommon sight on Bodie Island. One was observed on 30Apr and four were observed hunting around street lights on 29Jul.

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)
Abundant. Road edges, dunes, lawns, and shrubs on Bodie Island. Associated with grassy areas. Also on Hatteras Island and Wright Brothers Memorial. "Rabbits" could be seen any morning or evening along Highway NC 12. First young observed in June.

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris)
Common. Road edges, dunes, and shrubs on Bodie Island. Also on Hatteras Island. "Rabbits" could be seen any morning or evening along Highway NC 12.

Marsh Rice Rat (Oryzomys palustris)
Abundant. Wet areas, marsh and Juncus/Iva habitats on Bodie Island. First young were observed in July.

White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)
Uncommon. On Bodie Island, found mostly in association with humans, also dune, brush, and Juncus/Iva habitats. Dune habitat on Hatteras Island. First young observed in May, probably born in April.

Meadow Vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus)
Common. Marsh habitats. Only 25 were caught, but sign could be found in all Spartina patens areas late in the summer.

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethica)
Common. Ponds and associated marsh habitats on Bodie and Hatteras Islands. Sign observed in the sound on Bodie Island. First young observed on 2Jun.

Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Rare. Fresh marsh/shrubs on Bodie Island. One animal was caught. This was the first recorded on Bodie Island.

House Mouse (Mus musculus)
Abundant. Dune-grasslands, dry marsh, shrubs, buildings. These could probably be found in all dry habitats on Bodie and Hatteras Islands. The first reproductively active males were observed in early May. By late August, almost all individuals caught were reproductively active.

Nutria (Myocastor coypus)
Abundant. Ponds and associated marsh habitats, sound edge. Quay (1959) did not report these introduced animals on Bodie Island, but they are now quite common. This population may have moved north across Oregon Inlet or south from the Pine Island Gun Club, Currituck Co. (David Webster, pers. comm.). First juveniles observed 7May.

Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Common. All habitats on Bodie Island. Rare on Hatteras Island. A road kill was observed on the north end of Pea Island (NPS rangers, pers. comm.). Also observed in the town of Nags Head and Wright Brothers Memorial.

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Common. All habitats on Bodie Island. Also Buxton Woods.

House Cats (Felis domesticus)
Common. Observed mostly in association with human habitation, but tracks were widely observed on Bodie Island, especially as the marsh dried in the late summer. Tracks of many cats were observed at Oregon Inlet, including the extreme southern tip of the island. A feral cat was removed from the Cape Point Tern Colony where it was suspected of killing many birds, and numerous cats were removed from the Buxton Woods area by the County Animal Control Agent. A road kill was observed at Little Kinnakeet, and tracks were observed in the Avon dune plots. Cats were observed on the northern tip of Pea Island associated with fishermen. Seven cats were trapped and removed from the Bodie Island NPS housing area and Coquina Beach area during March, but others could not be trapped.

White-tail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Uncommon. The author observed no deer on Bodie Island, but their tracks were wide spread in the marshes, especially as it dried in late summer. Most sign was observed around Bodie Island Lighthouse. Deer occur in Buxton Woods, Avon Woods, and Wright Brothers Memorial.

All specimens collected were deposited at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and include approximately 200 house mice, 40 rice rats, 20 meadow voles, 15 least shrews, and several white-footed mice.


Department of the Interior. 1984. Wildlife of Pea Island National Wildlife Area. RF-42540-12-December 1984. 15 pp.

Quay, T.L. 1959. The birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area. Zoology Department, North Carolina State College, Raleigh, NC. Project completion report.


Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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