original research, photos and artwork by Alison M. Sheehey 1998-2015
All rights reserved.

* = species recorded from museum collection

(I) = species or subspecies introduced to area - not native

Virginia Opossum on the Kern River in Bakersfield  Alison Sheehey

Family Didelphidae - Opossums:

Virginia Opossum* (I) - Didelphis virginiana virginiana - introduced to California in the late 1800's. First specimen recorded in Bakersfield in 1942. Found in all regions of the county except the Mojave Desert.

Dusky or Montane Shrew specimen at the Smithsonian Institute   Alison Sheehey

Family Soricidae - Shrews:

Dusky shrew* Sorex monticolus obscurus

Ornate shrew* - Sorex ornatus

Ornate shrew* - S. o. ornatus

Buena Vista Lake shrew* - S. o. relictus


Water Shrew - Sorex palustris navigator


Trowbridge's shrew* - Sorex trowbridgii mariposae


Crawford's desert shrew - Notiosorex crawfordi crawfordi


Family Talpidae - Moles:

Broad-handed mole* - Scapanus latimanus occultus


Family Vespertilionidae - Vespertilionid Bats:

Long-eared myotis* - Myotis evotis evotis


Fringed myotis* - Myotis thysanodes thysanodes


Western small-footed myotis*Myotis ciliolabrum melanorhinus

California myotis* - Myotis californicus

M. c. californicus

M. c. stephensi


Little brown myotis* - Myotis lucifugus carissima


Yuma myotis* - Myotis yumanensis

M. y. sociabilis

M. y. californicus


Long-legged myotis*Myotis volans interior


Silver-haired bat - Lasionycteris noctivagans

Western Pipistrelle in Mtn Mesa   Alison Sheehey

Western pipistrelle* - Pipistrellus hesperus hesperus


Big brown bat* - Eptesicus fuscus

E. f. bernardinus

E. f. pallidus


Hoary bat* - Lasiurus cinereus cinereus


Western red bat* - Lasiurus blossevillii teliotis


Western Big-eared Bat* - Corynorhinus townsendii

Pale Big-eared Bat - C. t. pallescens

Townsend's Big-eared Bat - C. t. townsendii


Spotted bat* - Euderma maculatum


Pallid bat* - Antrozous pallidus

A. p. pacificus

A. p. pallidus


Family Molossidae - Free-tailed Bats:

Mexican free-tailed bat* - Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana


Western mastiff bat* - Eumops perotis californicus

Family Canidae - Dogs:

Red fox (I) - Vulpes vulpes - unknown subspecies introduced to California for the fur trade. Competes with native red fox, gray fox, and kit fox. Found in growing numbers throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Sierra Nevada red fox - Vulpes vulpes necator - a threatened species only known in Kern County from past records on the southern Kern Plateau. Most likely extirpated from the county.

San Joaquin Kit Fox in Bakersfield   Alison Sheehey

Kit Fox - Vulpes macrotis

Desert kit fox* - V. m. arsipus - Mojave desert

San Joaquin kit fox* - V. m. mutica - San Joaquin Valley endangered subspecies due to habitat loss from development and agriculture.

Gray Fox  2006 Alison Sheehey

Gray fox* - Urocyon cinereoargenteus californicus - mountains and foothills, occasionally into Bakersfield

Coyote captive at CALM  Alison Sheehey

Coyote* - Canis latrans

C. l. ochropus

C. l. mearnsi

not wild Domestic Dogs but certainly free-roaming  Alison Sheehey

Domestic dog* (I) - Canis familiaris - populations of feral dogs inhabit local areas of the county. Animal control usually finds these packs after they attack people or livestock.

American Black Bear captive at CALM

Family Ursidae - Bears:


American Black bear* - Ursus americanus californiensis - moved south to inhabit most of former range of larger grizzly - mostly absent from San Joaquin Valley.

California Grizzly Bear - from California State Library

California grizzly bear - Ursus arctos californicus - extinct

Last killed in Kern County in the vicinity Tehachapi, 1918

Last confirmed grizzly killed in Tulare County, 1922

Last unconfirmed sighting in Fresno County, 1924 declared extinct that year.

Family Procyonidae -Raccoons and Relatives:

Ringtail* - Bassariscus astutus raptor - foothills and mountains above 1000'.

Raccoon* - Procyon lotor psora - county wide

Long-tailed Weasel captive at CALM  Alison Sheehey

Family Mustelidae - Weasels and Relatives:

Long-tailed weasel* - Mustela frenata

 M. f. latirostra

M. f. pulchra

Pacific Fisher   Alison Sheehey

Pacific Fisher* - Martes pennanti pacifica


Wolverine* - Gulo gulo luteus extirpated

Badger in captivity at CALM  Alison Sheehey


Taxidea taxus berlandieri

Taxidea taxus jeffersoni

Spotted Skunk captive at CALM  Alison Sheehey

Western spotted skunk* - Spilogale gracilis phenax

Striped skunk* - Mephitis mephitis

M. m. occidentalis

M. m. holzneri

Family Felidae - Cats: 

Feral cat - Felis catus

Bobcat* - Lynx rufus

L. r. baileyi

L. r. californica

Mountain Lion  Alison Sheehey

Mountain lion* - Puma concolor californica


Jaguar* - Panthera onca arizonensis - extirpated from county but some question as to accuracy of original report by Merriam.

Wild Burro  Alison Sheehey

Horses and Burros: Family Equidae

Wild burro (I) - Equus asinus - small population found occasionally near China Lake

Tule Elk family at the Tule Elk Reserve  Alison Sheehey

Family Cervidae - Deer and Relatives: 

Elk - Cervus elaphus

Tule Elk* - C. e. nannoides - native species reintroduced to south and western Kern County and in north Mojave

Rocky Mountain Elk (I) - C. e. nelsoni - introduced on Tejon Ranch as game animal... seen wandering as far north as Greenhorn Mtns.

Mule Deer on Greenhorn Mountain  Alison Sheehey

Mule deer* - Odocoileus hemionus californicus

Pronghorn near Tule Lake NWR  Alison Sheehey

Family Antilocapridae - Pronghorn:

Pronghorn* - Antilocapra americana americana - native species reintroduced to south and west valley. Numbered in the millions prior to the arrival of European settlers. Hunters continue to poach anywhere they can. I do not understand the mindset of this unmitigated violence toward innocent species.

Cow in my backyard  Alison Sheehey

Family Bovidae - Cattle, Sheep, and Relatives:

Cattle (I) - Bos taurus - occasional escape from free-range cattle - no permanent feral populations

Domestic Sheep  Alison Sheehey

Domestic sheep* (I) - Ovis aries - frequent escapee from pasture... cause of major disease in native bighorn sheep.

Bighorn Sheep  Alison Sheehey

Bighorn sheep* - Ovis canadensis

California bighorn sheep* - O. c. californiana - endangered, hunted to extinction in Kern County... numbers reduced to below 100 animals left in world, you guys proud of your achievement? May in fact be its own species, DNA is leaning toward a relationship with Siberian sheep.

Desert bighorn sheep* (I) - O. c. nelsoni

Family Suidae - Pigs:

Wild pig* (I) - Sus scrofa - found in the foothills surrounding San Joaquin Valley and along Kern River floodplains.

Merriam's Chipmunk  Alison Sheehey

Family Sciuridae - Squirrels:

Merriam's chipmunk* - Tamias merriami

T. m. kernensis

T. m. merriami

Lodgepole Chipmunk on the Kern Plateau  Alison Sheehey

Lodgepole chipmunk* Tamias speciosus

Mt. Pinos chipmunk* - T. s. callipeplus

T. s. frater

T. s. sequoiensis

T. s. speciosus

Least Chipmunk  Alison Sheehey

Least chipmunk* - Tamias minimus scrutator

White-tailed Antelope Squirrel  Alison Sheehey

White-tailed antelope squirrel* - Ammospermophilus leucurus leucurus

San Joaquin antelope squirrel* - Ammospermophilus nelsoni

California Ground Squirrel at the Kern NWR  Alison Sheehey

California ground squirrel* - Otospermophilus beecheyi

S. b. fisheri

S. b. parvulus

Mojave Ground Squirrel  Alison Sheehey

Mohave ground squirrel* - Xerospermophilus mohavensis

A threatened species that deserves habitat protection.

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel  Alison Sheehey

Golden-mantled ground squirrel* - Callospermophilus lateralis

Located along the northern reaches of the county in the Greenhorns and Kern Plateau

Fox Squirrel  Alison Sheehey

Fox squirrel* (I) - Sciurus niger

Introduced by members of Stockdale Country Club, now found throughout Bakersfield. Someone introduced fox squirrels to Kernville as well. May cause local extinctions of native western gray squirrel. May spread disease as they are far more likely to occupy human habitats than native tree squirrels.

Western Gray Squirrel in my Mtn Mesa backyard  Alison Sheehey

Western gray squirrel* - Sciurus griseus

S. g. anthonyi

S. g. griseus

Poachers decimating squirrel populations throughout their range.

Douglas Squirrel aka Chickaree on Sugarloaf Road  Alison Sheehey

Douglas' squirrel* (Chickaree) - Tamiasciurus douglasii albolimbatus


Northern flying squirrel* - Glaucomys sabrinus lascivus

Family Castoridae  - Beaver:

Beaver* (I) - Castor canadensis ssp.

Golden Beaver - C. c. subauratus - native

Note: there is one native subspecies of beaver from the San Joaquin Valley - known from the Tulare Lake basin and this subspecies may never have occurred in Kern County. The beavers found along the Kern River are introduced subspecies from the east coast. Fur trappers introduced these animals in the early to mid 1800's.

Family Geomyidae - Pocket Gophers:

Southwestern pocket gopher* - Thomomys bottae

T. b. angularis

T. b. bottae

Buena Vista Lake pocket gopher* - T. b. ingens

T. b. mewa

T. b. mohavensis

T. b. neglectus

T. b. pascalis

T. b. perpallidus

T. b. perpes

T. b. piutensis


Family Heteromyidae - Pocket Mice and Kangaroo Rats:

Yellow-eared Pocket mouse* - Perognathus parvus xanthonotus


Tehachapi pocket mouse* - Perognathus alticola inexpectatus

Little pocket mouse* - Perognathus longimembris longimembris

San Joaquin Pocket Mouse on Kern Water Bank  Alison Sheehey

San Joaquin pocket mouse*  - Perognathus inornatus

San Joaquin pocket mouse  - P. i. inornatus

McKittrick pocket mouse - P. i. neglectus

California pocket mouse* - Chaetodipus californicus ochrus


Desert pocket mouse - Chaetodipus penicillatus stephensi


Long-tailed pocket mouse* - Chaetodipus formosus mohavensis


Chisel-toothed kangaroo rat* - Dipodomys microps microps

Panamint Kangaroo Rat from Kelso Valley  Alison Sheehey

Panamint kangaroo rat* - Dipodomys panamintinus mohavensis

Pacific kangaroo rat* - Dipodomys agilis

D. a. agilis

D. a. perplexus

Heermann's Kangaroo Rat at Lokern Preserve  Alison Sheehey

Heermann's kangaroo rat* - Dipodomys heermanni

D. h. swarthi

D. h. tularensis

Giant Kangaroo Rat at Lokern Preserve  Alison Sheehey

Giant kangaroo rat* - Dipodomys ingens - west valley


Merriam's kangaroo rat* - Dipodomys merriami merriami - Mojave desert

Short-nosed Kangaroo Rat between Buttonwillow and McKittrick  Alison Sheehey

San Joaquin kangaroo rat - Dipodomys nitratoides

Short-nosed kangaroo rat* - D. n. brevinasus - west of California Aqueduct San Joaquin Valley

Tipton kangaroo rat* - D. n. nitratoides east of California Aqueduct San Joaquin Valley


Desert kangaroo rat* - Dipodomys deserti deserti - Mojave desert

Desert Woodrat  Alison Sheehey 2006

Family Muridae -Rats and Mice:

Desert woodrat* - Neotoma lepida

N. l. gilva

N. l. intermedia

N. llepida

Big-eared woodrat* - Neotoma macrotis (split from fuscipes)

N. m. bullatior

N. m. simplex

Southern grasshopper mouse* - Onychomys torridus

O. t. clarus

O. t. longicaudus

O. t. pulcher

Tulare grasshopper mouse* - O. t. tularensis

Parasitic mouse*  - Peromyscus californicus mariposae


Cactus mouse* - Peromyscus eremicus eremicus


Canyon mouse* - Peromyscus crinitus stephensi

Deer mouse* - Peromyscus maniculatus

P. m. gambelii

P. m. sonoriensis

Brush mouse* - Peromyscus boylii rowleyi

Pinyon mouse* - Peromyscus truei

P. t. montipinoris

P. t. truei

Western harvest mouse* - Reithrodontomys megalotis

R. m. longicaudus

R. m. megalotis

California vole* - Microtus californicus

M. c. aestuarinus

M. c. kernensis

Muskrat from Kern River at Hart Park  Alison Sheehey

Muskrat* - Ondatra zibethicus


Black rat* (I)- Rattus rattus


House mouse* - Mus musculus

M. m. brevirostris

M. m. domesticus

Brush Rabbit - Sylvilagus bachmani mariposae  Alison Sheehey 2006

Family Leporidae -  Rabbits and Hares:

Brush rabbit - Sylvilagus bachmani

S. b. cinerascens

S. b. mariposae

Desert Cottontail at Kern River Preserve - Sylvilagus audubonii vallicola  Alison Sheehey

Desert cottontail - Sylvilagus audubonii

S. a. arizonae

S. a. vallicola

European Rabbit at Hart Park  Alison Sheehey

European rabbit (I) - Oryctolagus cuniculus

Black-tailed Jackrabbit - Lepus californicus richardsonii  Alison Sheehey 2006

Black-tailed jackrabbit - Lepus californicus

L. c. bennettii

L. c. deserticola

L. c. richardsonii

Museum collections surveyed

Vertebrate Museum - Department of Biological Sciences - Humboldt State University - Timothy E. Lawlor
Department of Biological Sciences - California State University, Long Beach - David G. Huckaby.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Dr. David S. Janiger .
Peabody Museum of Natural History - Yale University.
Division of Mammals - National Museum of Natural History - Dr. Craig Ludwig.
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology - University of California, Berkeley - Dr. James L. Patton.
Museum of Wildlife & Fisheries Biology - University of California, Davis - Dr. Ronald E. Cole
Moore Laboratory of Zoology and Department of Biology, Occidental College - Dr. John C. Hafner
Natural History Museum - University of Kansas - Curator of Mammals - Dr. Norm Slade
Museum of Zoology - University of Michigan -  Phil Myers


I would like to thank the following people for contributing information to this project.

Dr. Karen Rowe - Museum of Vertebrate Zoology - University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Kevin Rowe - Museum of Vertebrate Zoology - University of California, Berkeley

Denise LaBerteaux - EREMICO Biological Services.
David Hardt - USFWS.
Bill Van Herweg -  Biological Consultant
Bill Asserson - CDFG.
Ted Murphy - CSUB.
David Germano - CSUB.
Brian Cypher - DOE.
Graciela Hinshaw - CNLM.
Bruce Garlinger - EREMICO Biological Services.
Bob Barnes - Bob Barnes & Associates.
John Lindsay - KCSS.
David Clendenon - TWC.
Clark and Jean Moore - TMBC.
Mike Foster - USFS.
Martin Potter - CDFG.
William Gannon - UNM.
Douglas Kelt - UC Davis.
Ken Kinman
Robert Parker - BLM
Tom Campbell - China Lake NWR
Karen Bates - CDFG

Scott Little - USFWS

Buz Lunsford - HerpEcology

References and Resources
1993. Mammal Species of Special Concern. Wildlife Management Division, California Dept. of Fish & Game. Sacramento.
1997. Draft Kern County Habitat Conservation Plan. County of Kern: Bakersfield, CA
Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A Field Guide to the Mammals. Houghton Mifflin, New York.
Hall, E. R. 1981. The mammals of North America. Vol. I & II. Second ed. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Hall, E. R. and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The Mammals of North America. I & II. Ronald Press, New York.
Hickman, J.(ed.). 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
Holland, R.F. 1986. Preliminary Descriptions of the Terrestrial Natural Communities of California. Nongame-Heritage Program. California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, CA.
Ingles, L.G. 1973. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press. Stanford, California.
Jameson, E. and H. Peeters. 1989. California Mammals. UC Press, Berkeley.
Jones, C., R. S. Hoffmann, D. W. Rice, M. D. Engstrom, R. D. Bradley, D. J. Schmidly, C. A. Jones, and R. J. Baker. 1997. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1997. Occas. Papers Mus., Texas Tech Univ. 173:1-19.
Long, C. A. 1973. Taxidea taxus. Mammalian Species, 26:1-4.
Mayer, K.E., and W.F. Laudenslayer, Jr., editors. 1988. A guide to wildlife habitats in California. State of California, The Resources Agency, Sacramento, CA
Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th ed. Johns Hopkins UP, Baltimore.
Steinhart, P. 1990. California's Wild Heritage: Threatened and Endangered Animals in the Golden State. California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, CA
Stephens, F.1906.California Mammals. West Coast Publishing Co. San Diego.
Twisselmann, E. C. 1967. A Flora of Kern County, California. Wasmann Journal of Biology, 25:1-395.
Whitaker, Jr., John O. 1992. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf Publishing. New York.
Williams, D.F. 1986. Mammalian Species of Concern in California. State of California. The Resources Agency. California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, California.
Wilson, D. . and S. 1999. The Mammals of North America. Smithsonian. Washington, DC
Zeiner, D. C., et al. 1990. California's Wildlife. Volume III: Mammals. State of California. The Resources Agency. Sacramento, California.

NOTE: The information contained herein is accurate except for mammals suspected or reported without substantive verification, these are noted in the notes column. I am working on inputting the status and distribution as well as habitat information. Any comments on distribution, taxonomy, personal observations, collections, or historical information are welcomed.
The mammal list is from my upcoming series of books on the Status and Distribution of Kern County Vertebrates. The purpose of this work is to disseminate accurate information about the biogeographically diverse region of Kern County. When finished it will include general status and distribution information. The listing order follows what is found in "Walker's Mammals of World" 1999, by R. M. Nowak; and subspecies nomenclature are mostly from "The Mammals of North America," 2nd ed., 1981, by E. R. Hall. English names refer to the species as a whole, unless individual subspecies have been given a common name. Species range is described briefly. Asterisks specify that the mammal's occurrence in Kern County is supported by specimens from at least one of many Natural History Museums listed.
Taxa are presented in the phylogenetic sequence used in Walker's Mammals of the World. This checklist contains 102 species, four species are listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, one is a federal candidate species, two are currently listed as endangered by the state of California and five are listed as threatened by the state. Additionally twelve species are considered sensitive by the federal authorities and sixteen are considered sensitive by the state of California. Two extirpated species have been reintroduced to the wilds of the county. The list includes two extinct species. Twenty taxa have been introduced and occur in sufficient numbers to be included here.
Museum specimens have been used to develop the basic list, and review of scientific literature have added to the number of species represented. Interviews with area biologists and the author's personal field experience have added several species not represented in any collection or literature found so far.
Although no works have been published on Kern County mammals, several significant works on the recent mammals of California have been published. California Mammals (Stephens, 1906), Mammals of California (Ingles, 1947), Mammals of the Pacific States (Ingles, 1965), and California's Wildlife, Volume III - Mammals (Zeiner et al., 1990) are major references on the mammals of the state. Williams has written extensively about the rodents of the San Joaquin Valley. Cypher has published many works on the urban kit fox. Brown-Berry has studied distribution and ecology of bats. All species of mammals known to occur in the state at the time were treated by Hall (1981). Books available for laypersons are A Field Guide to the Mammals (Burt & Grossenheider, 1980) and California Mammals (Jameson & Peeters 1989).
These works were used as reference for status and habitat information of Kern's mammals. This compilation is presented to advance the work of many biologists, especially students, as well as the general public. My devotion to the biological diversity of Kern County and personal passion to save the flora and fauna from the developers blade or farmers plow are the reason for making this information available without cost to interested persons. This list like all living things will evolve as new information becomes available. I hope you enjoy my labor of love. Copyright, all rights reserved.

General Status

Abundant = Almost always present in high numbers within the range and suitable habitat of the species.
Common = Often present in moderate numbers with the range and suitable habitat of the species.
Uncommon = Occurs in low numbers or only locally within the range and a suitable habitat of the species.
Rare = Very rare or extremely restricted to localized areas within suitable habitat of the species.


Address of author

Alison Marie Sheehey

P.O. Box 153

Weldon, CA 93283


Citation: Sheehey, A.M. 2009. Photo Checklist of Mammals of Kern County. download date.

California Ground Squirrel     Coyote     Deer Mouse     Desert Cottontail      Fox Squirrel     Kit Fox     Lodgepole Chipmunk     Virginia Opossum      San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel     Kern County Mammals     Kern Mammal Checklist

Nature Alley is dedicated to protecting natural communities wherever they exist. She is involved in many scientific and educational programs, promoting environmental appreciation and ethics.

Nature Alley P.O. Box 1832 Kernville, CA 93238 Email
Copyright 1998-2015
by Nature Ali. All rights reserved.