Montana has some weird people and even weirder animals that call it home. Who would have guessed that the rarest mammal in all of North America lives in Montana? It's true.

Even cooler, there are a few species of animals that live nowhere else but right here in Montana. This state is packed with interesting animal facts and we're going to break some of those down. (We'll get to the rarest in just a minute. What's a polecat, BTW?)

The following facts were gathered from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, A to Z, Wikipedia, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and the National Forest Service.)

  • Montana has 440 different bird species
  • The Pygmy Rabbit, the Northern Scorpion, and the Rubber Boa are native to Montana
  • There are at least 3 different species of sturgeon in Montana waters (pallid sturgeon, Kootenai River white sturgeon, shovelnose sturgeon)
  • The official state animal of Montana is the Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)
  • Montana has 227 "species of concern." (Species of concern are species about which there are some concerns regarding status and threats, but insufficient information is available to list the species under the Endangered Species Act, according to Wikipedia.)

What are some of the "species of concern" in Montana? Townsend's Big-eared Bat, the Smoky Taildropper (a slug), the Western Glacier Stonefly, the Subarctic Darner (a dragonfly), the Shortnose Gar, the Northern Alligator Lizard, and the Sharp-tailed Grouse, to name just a few.

So, WHAT IS the rarest mammal in North America that calls Montana home? The Black-footed Ferret is the rarest mammal in North America. There are thought to be only 370 of them left on the planet. According to World Wildlife:

The black-footed ferret is one of North America’s most endangered mammals. Once thought to be extinct, after the species was rediscovered in Wyoming in 1981, concerted efforts by numerous partners have given black-footed ferrets a second chance for survival.

Captive breeding, reintroductions, habitat protection, and cloning have helped restore them to over 300 animals in the wild. Habitat loss and disease remain their key threats.



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