Mammals of Ferry County

There are over 44 mammals within the fauna inhabiting the Ferry County. A comprehensive list of those mammals from the U. S. Forest Service is located at the bottom of this page. Here are some of the mammalian wildlife images I've managed to capture in this diverse habitat area.

River Otters:
Recently had a friend tell me, “They were big! Really big.” She was referring to a pair of river otters she spotted. I agree. With a full grown male weighing in 20 to 30 pounds, and averaging four feet in length they are large aquatic mammals. Over the years I’ve enjoyed several opportunities to observe river otters in their natural habitat. One of those sightings included watching a female otter teaching two pups how to fish.  A search on the Washington Department of Fish& Wildlife (WDFW) web-site states,  “although seldom seen, river otters are relatively common throughout Washington in ponds, lakes, rivers, sloughs, estuaries, bays, and in open waters along the coast.”

A pair of river otter keeping a weary eye on the shoreside photographer.
J. Foster Fanning, photography

Of course, in the otters world, playtime is one of the most important aspects, which of course makes watching otters quite enjoyable. Below is three of a five member family having a romp on the ice.
Playtime for part of a family of river otter on the Kettle River in north Ferry County.
J. Foster Fanning, photography

Buck in velvet
Velvet Buck...Caught up with this mule deer buck as he sheltered from the hot summer sun browsing under this shrub in Ferry County, WA. There is a dusting of pollen sprinkled across the fine hairs of his snout. 
While wildlife officials report The long-term population trend for white-tailed deer continues to be on the downside due to the changing demographics and loss of acreage in cereal grain and alfalfa hay farm production. These deer along with their Whitetail cousins are still frequent in the Ferry County.

Whitetail fawn can lay almost flat on the ground when they want to hide. This one, at several days old, is just curious enough to want to see what's going on, even when mom goes on the alert .
Whitetail fawn - J. Foster Fanning, photography

Mulie Buck in velvet - J. Foster Fanning, photography

Young female Bobcat - J. Foster Fanning, Photography
This young female bobcat is following the daily use trail of a small flock of wild turkey. A tasty treat for this cat if it manages to bring one of the big birds down.

Young bull moose on the shoreline of Lake Roosevelt, J. Foster Fanning

I observed this young bull moose on Lake Roosevelt one morning. It wandered the shoreline, stepped into the water, took a big drink and several deep breaths while looking across a mile wide portion of the lake. The moose walked forward until it was swimming, gave a big snort and headed across the lake. It took 23 minutes for it to swim that span.

Cow moose and two calves - J. Foster Fanning, photography

The Kettle River Range is set between the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Cascade Mountains to the west.  This stretch of landscape is a unique geographic area of the inland Pacific Northwest. Part of pronounced diversity of wildlife within this region is bighorn sheep which were here long before European explorers. In Ferry County the bighorns are typically found in two differing locations, the Kettle River Breaks, an escarpment of steep, rocky cliffs above the upper reaches of the river once it enters the U.S. and at the southernmost reach of the range, just above where the mountains plunge into the Columbia River drainage on the shores of Lake Roosevelt.

When author Jack Nisbet researched early explorer David Thompson and botanist David Douglas , he noted that Thompson wintered with bighorn sheep on the Clark Fork around Thompson Falls, Montana, in 1809-10 and 1811-12. He also saw them on the Columbia River just below the mouth of the Methow River in July 1811. Douglas mentions bighorn sheep in this area in 1826 noting that Jaco Finlay was planning to take a specimen of Mouton gris or bighorn sheep. In June of the same year Douglas was part of group ascending the Kettle River in hunt of bighorns. Later he mentions returning to Fort Colville where mounts of bighorn sheep were being prepared for a Hudson’s Bay governor.
Research shows that within recent history bighorn sheep herds all across the Okanogan Highlands had been decimated by a combination of over hunting, livestock borne diseases and normal predation.  In a recent discussion with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) I gathered that local herds of bighorn sheep are now considered stable but still closely monitored.
U. S. Forest Service listing of mammals within the Okanogan Highlands
mule deer (odocoileus hemiohus)
white-tailed deer (odocoileus virginianus)
bighorn sheep (ovis canadensis)
black bear (ursus americanus)
moose (alces alces)
elk (cervus elaphus)
mountain lion (felis concolor)
coyote (canis latrans)
wolverine (gulo gulo)
bob cat (lynx rufus)
lynx (lynx canadensis)
fisher (martes pennanti)
ermine (mustela erminea)
long-tailed weasel (mustela frenata)
mink (mustela vison)
porcupine (erethizon dorsatum)
snowshoe hare (lepus americanus)
striped skunk (mephitis mephitis)
yellow-bellied marmot (marmota flaviventris)
northern flying squirrel (glaucomys sabrinus)
red squirrel (tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
golden-mantled ground squirrel (spermophilus lateralis)
columbian ground squirrel (spermophilus columbianus)
yellow-pine chipmuck (tamius amoenus)
hoary bat (lasiurus cinereus)
silver-haired bat (lasionyeteris noctivagons)
townsend's big-eared bat (plecotus townsendii)
yuma myotis (myotis yumanensis)
long-eared myotis (myotis evotis)
little brown myotis (myotis lucifugus)
california myotis (myotis californicus)
fringed myotis (myotis thysanodes)
long-legged myotis (myotis volans)
gapper's red-backed vole (clethrionomys gapperi)
long-tailed vole (microtus longicaudus)
montane vole (microtus montanus)
meadow vole (microtus pennsylvanicus)
bushy-tailed woodrat (neoloma cinerea)
deer mouse (peromyscus maniculatus)
western jumping mouse (zapus princeps)
masked shrew (sorex cinereus)
montane shrew (sorex monticolus)
water shrew (sorex palustris)
vagrant shrew (sorex vagrans)

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