- National Animals of Canada: Beaver and Canadian Horse
- Approximate Number of Animal Species in Canada (Excluding Insects, Bacteria, Viruses, Invertebrates)*: 1,950
- Most Dangerous Animal in Canada: Moose
By landmass, Canada is the world’s second-largest country and home to approximately 200 mammal species, between 462 and 467 native bird species, 43 amphibian species, 43 reptile species, and 1,200 fish species. Unlike the United States and Mexico — North America’s two other nations — Canada is not a megadiverse country. Nevertheless, it’s wide-open spaces and relatively low human population make it a wildlife wonderland.
*Species counts are constantly changing.
Below, you’ll find a complete list of Canadian animals — with fantastic pictures! We currently track 253 animals in Canada and add more daily!
Canadian Wildlife Geography
Canada is 9.9 square kilometers, containing 15 terrestrial eco-zones and five marine ones. Scientists believe 70,000 to 80,000 plant and animal species occupy the landmass, and an equal number have yet to be discovered.
Canada’s southwest region is a mix of rainforest, desert, and continental climate zones, which the Rockies separate from the middle plains and eastern temperate zones. Further north, tundra conditions persist, and parts of the country lie above the Arctic Circle.
Englishman Samuel Hearne, an 18th-century explorer, fur trader, and naturalist, was the first person to record Canadian animals during his 1795 expedition. John Richardson followed it up with the Fauna Boreali-Americana in 1829. Today, people interested in Canadian wildlife and animals typically subscribe to The Canadian Field-Naturalist, Canada Journal of Zoology. French speakers can pick up Le Naturaliste Canadien.
The most recent Canadian animal count stands at 200 mammals, about 692 birds, 43 reptiles, and 43 amphibians.
Animals in Canada: Mammals
Canada is known for its giant residents: moose, wood bison, polar bears, and grizzlies. But in terms of population, rodents are the most plentiful mammals in Canada. Scientists have currently recorded about 200 mammals in the country, and the list ranges from bats to blue whales to bobcats.
Common Mammals in Canada
Animals in Canada: Avifauna
When you search “number of bird species in Canada,” you’ll get many different answers. Some counts only include types native to Canada, some are lists of birds that never leave Canadian airways, and still others are giant listings of every bird that’s ever crossed the border.
We think a good count for the number of birds in Canada is about 687 and 692. That includes between 462 and 467 birds endemic to the country, plus 225 accidental species that immigrated, either by choice or force, and stayed — or visit for half the year.
Common Birds in Canada
Animals in Canada: Fish
Over one thousand species of fish torpedo through Canada’s waters. Most famously, the country is a salmon haven, and anglers flock for the annual runs on both the east and west coasts.
Common Fresh-Water Fish in Canada
- Rainbow Trout
- Arctic Char
- Brook Trout
Common Salt-Water Fish in Canada
- Atlantic Cod
Animals in Canada: Reptiles
Surprisingly, the reptile world is widely represented in the Great White North. Crocodiles are the only reptile group not represented in Canada.
Common Reptiles in Canada
National Animals of Canada: Beaver and Canadian Horse
What is Canada’s national animal? Many people assume it’s the moose or polar bear, but it’s actually the beaver and Canadian horse.
National Animal of Canada: North American Beaver
On March 24, 1975, the North American beaver became Canada’s National Animal when lawmakers passed the National Symbol of Canada Act, which recognized the animal as “a symbol of the sovereignty of Canada.”
When people first learn this fun fact, the reaction is typically a “say-whaaa?” side-eye. But any proud Canadian will set skeptics straight immediately. They’ll explain that beavers are hard-working, highly intelligent, and can build structures visible from space! “What better animal is there to celebrate and uplift!?” they may scoff. And we agree: beavers are incredible.
Four Fun Facts About Beavers
- Beaver lodges are sturdy, comfy, and safe. To evade predators, they build underwater entrances. Inside, there are two rooms: one is a “mudroom,” where beavers dry off and clean themselves. The other is a dry, warm, toasty den where they hang out and socialize.
- Built-in swimming goggles? Beavers have them. When swimming, their transparent eyelids “switch on.” They act like goggles and allow beavers to keep their eyes open underwater.
- Why are beavers always gnawing on things? It’s their teeth — which never stop growing! To keep their fangs under control, beavers continuously file them down by chewing on bark, buds, stems, and twigs.
- Occasionally, beavers will kindly open up their lodges to muskrat families in need.
- In 1621, Sir William Alexander was the first person to include a beaver in a recognized coat of arms.
National Animal of Canada: Canadian Horse
In 2002, after a years-long campaign, parliamentarians added a second national animal to its roster: the Canadian horse — aka cheval Canadien.
The species’ descendants track back to the stables of Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, and they’re graceful, muscled, powerful, and calm.
Calvary men who fought in the American Civil War rode Canadian horses almost exclusively, and it nearly extinguished the breed. Once the war ended, Canada passed a ban on exports to regrow the population.
Alongside the United States, Australia, and the Bahamas, Canada is one of four nations with two national animals.
Endangered Canadian Animals
At the time of this writing, according to the Canadian government, 890 of the country’s animals are endangered, vulnerable, or seriously threatened.
The Most Dangerous Animals In Canada Today
The five most dangerous animals in Canada are the moose, black widow spider, prairie rattlesnake, cougar, and polar bear.
Most Dangerous Canadian Animals: Moose
Moose aren’t meat-eaters, so they don’t attack people for food. But the 1,500-pound behemoths do cause catastrophic harm when they collide with cars and ram vehicles. Moose mainly stick to lake streams deep in the woodlands, but they occasionally collide with humans — so watch out!
Most Dangerous Canadian Animals: Black Widow Spider
Black widow spiders live along Canada’s southern border. They like to hang in dark, quiet places, like sheds, under rocks, and beneath woodpiles.
Despite their reputations, black widows do their best to avoid people, and they only bite after exhausting all other options. Thankfully, the black widow spiders found in Canada aren’t venomous enough to kill humans, but they can cause lots of pain — and are deadly to smaller animals.
Most Dangerous Canadian Animals: Prairie Rattlesnake
Prairie rattlesnakes slither around southwestern Alberta, and if you come across one, be very careful! While it’s rare for people to die from their bites, it’s possible, and it’s happened. In 2018, a man lost his life after a prairie rattlesnake struck him during a golf outing. If you get hit, stay calm and call 911 immediately.
Most Dangerous Canadian Animals: Cougar
Cougars, the second heaviest big cat after the jaguar, rarely attack humans, but they will in times of famine. In Canada, they live around the Rocky Mountain region.
Most Dangerous Canadian Animals: Polar Bear
Polar bears and beautiful and deadly! They won’t charge people unless provoked. But if that happens, watch out! Polar bears — which weigh between 330 and 1,200 pounds — have been known to decapitate humans with one swipe of their giant paws.
Canadian Animals FAQ
Where Can I Find the Most Updated List of Endangered Canadian Animals?
Canada’s endangered species list is constantly changing. To keep up with the latest counts and assessments, head over to Canada’s List of Wildlife Species at Risk (SARA), an ongoing project maintained by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
What Does the Canadian Wildlife Act Do?
The Canadian Wildlife Act defines National Wildlife Areas (NWAs), National Parks, and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries. It also outlines the country’s endangered species programs.
Easygoing and people-friendly!
The color “Robin egg blue” is named after the hue of their eggs.
They secrete a milky poisonous liquid that can make many animals sick.
First evolved 100 million years ago!
Extremely thick winter fur!
Eats berries found in the snow!
Incredibly versatile and adaptive!
They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food
Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!
Found everywhere around the world!
Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.
Like other owls, the barred owl swallows its prey whole.
Detects prey using echolocation!
The Bea-Tzu has a fast-growing coat
An excellent companion for cats!
There are 8 different species!
Builds a dam from sticks and leaves!
Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.
Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years
There are more than 350,000 different species
Bighorn rams can run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour when fighting for dominance.
Not all birds are able to fly!
The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast
Largest mammal in North America!
They typically prey on insects!
They migrate for the longest distance of any warbler.
Blue jays rub ants on their feather to remove harmful acids
About double the size of a domestic cat!
In spring, the male bobolink is the only North American bird who is dark below and light colored above. This makes identification easy.
A dominant predator in it's environment!
The most common species of bee!
There are thought to be up 20,000 species!
The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.
They have natural snowshoes
Canadian horses are believed to generate more power per pound of body weight than any other horse breed in the world.
Males and females grow antlers
Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!
First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!
The larvae of a moth or butterfly!
There are nearly 3,000 different species!
There are about 3,000 documented species!
Chickadees are named for the sound they make: Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!
First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!
There are 25 different species!
Dated to be around 300 million years old!
The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood
House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.
Also known as the Great Northern Diver
A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.
Eyes change color as they age
Largest feline in North America
There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!
Also known as the Prairie Wolf!
There are 93 different crab groups
Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings
Many are critically endangered species!
Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together
The cross fox’s tail is bushier than the tail of the average red fox
A group of these birds is called a Murder.
There are around 40 different species!
First domesticated in South-East Asia!
Doxles have long floppy ears
It's larvae are carnivorous!
Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!
The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight
Has exceptional eyesight!
They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs
There are nearly 2,000 different species!
Bluebirds drop straight down on their prey from their perch, much like leopards.
This passerine bird can sing its song without ever hearing another bird vocalize first.
Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!
Adult males can jump eight feet vertically
A very bold and ferocious predator!
Takes pure delight in cold weather!
The fastest creatures on the planet!
The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.
False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders
The ferruginous hawk comes in both light and dark morphs
The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world
The fisher is an agile climber and makes its home in tree hollows
Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air
There are more than 240,000 different species!
There are 12 different species in the world!
Although it is a tree squirrel, it spends most of its time on the ground.
There are around 7,000 different species!
Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world
Cryptobranchus giant salamanders breathe mostly through their skin.
Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!
Males form large mating swarms at dusk
There are 29 different species!
They dig large networks of tunnels!
There are 11,000 known species!
The grasshopper mice attack predators using the poison of their venom.
The gray fox has retractable claws and a rotating wrist that allow it to climb trees with some proficiency
Survives freezing temperatures by producing glycerol and maintaining slower metabolic processes
This species makes use of some truly unusual nesting material, including snakeskin and garbage
Green frogs will eat any animal that they can fit in their mouth.
Less than 10% make it into adulthood
They whistle to each other to warn of approaching danger!
Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!
Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!
Inhabits wetlands around the world!
Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!
There are only 8 recognized species!
Hooded seal pups are called bluebacks because the color of the fur on their back is blue-gray. This pretty color made people want to make fur coats out of them and made them a target for hunters.
Has evolved over 50 million years!
Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.
Changed little in over 500 million years!
The wren’s epithet, aedon, comes from a Greek queen who accidentally killed her only son. She was actually aiming for her nephew, and Zeus took pity on her and turned her into a nightingale.
Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!
Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill
Since the imperial moth doesn’t eat, it does die shortly after it lays its eggs. Its lifespan is only about one week.
There are an estimated 30 million species!
Can clear an entire fruit tree in 15 minutes in a swarm
Merriam’s kangaroo rats literally never have to drink water
Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!
These dogs have medium-sized pendant ears.
There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!
Does not hibernate during the bitter Arctic winter!
They can jump up to three feet
The little brown bat uses echolocation to quickly navigate around its environment
There are around 5,000 different species!
Ear tufts make it look bigger!
Live in dens in rocks and under ledges!
Will travel up to 70 miles in a single day.
Will only live in wet areas
With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day
The marble fox is not a naturally occurring variant; it was created through artificial selection.
A marmot spends 80% of its life below ground
They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.
Some species have a poisonous bite!
Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!
Adult Mole crickets may fly as far as 5 miles during mating season and are active most of the year.
During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.
Has characteristics of two or more breeds!
Renews it's enormous antlers every year!
Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood
There are 250,000 different species!
Depending on the time of the year, the mountain bird can live as far north as Alaska.
Has no real natural predators!
It is almost always the male who makes the famous sad sound, which is a wooing call
Found on every continent on Earth!
Mudpuppies never leave their larval stage. This is called neoteny.
The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!
Muskox have several physical characteristics that allow them to survive in the Arctic climate.
The muskrat can stay underwater up to 17 minutes at a time
Introduced by Vikings more than 1,000 years ago!
There are more than 5,000 species.
Short claws make them good tree climbers!
Unlike other lizards, these give livebirth to their young
Males are a bright red color, also called "cardinal red"
Thought to be immune to certain snake venom!
Females are about four times the size of males
There are 13 different species worldwide
Male painted turtles have longer nails.
Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!
Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!
They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.
Found in mountainous regions and rocky areas
Apex freshwater predators with fearsome teeth!
Pairs establish territories and remain all year
A pine marten can jump from tree to tree similar to a squirrel.
Could be extinct within the next 30 years!
The Polyphemus moth doesn’t eat.
There are 30 different species worldwide!
Surprisingly, not a dolphin!
The striking distance of a prairie rattlesnake is 2/3rds the length of its body.
Can remain in the water for up to 2 minutes!
Has longer back legs than front legs!
The intensity of the plumage can change based on what the bird eats
Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!
Known to wash their food before eating it!
Omnivores that eat anything!
It's venom digests it's prey before it even swallows it!
Red finches can form flocks of over 100 birds.
The red squirrel has one of the most impressive memories in the entire animal kingdom
The male red-winged blackbird can sing to attract mates
Also known as the Caribou
The river otter can hold its breath for up to 8 minutes
Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!
There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!
The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.
Will mate with the entire flock!
Rose-breasted grosbeaks are closely related to cardinals
Ruby-throated hummingbirds can beat their wings more than 50 times per second.
Canines up to 7 inches long!
There are more than 700 different species!
Returns upstream every year to spawn
The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail
There are around 2,000 known species!
The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner
Some gulls are capable of using tools
This snake uses its sharp tail to steady itself when capturing prey.
Around 35 million in the English countryside!
The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.
There are 2,000 different species worldwide!
Many husky Labs have one blue eye and one brown eye.
Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.
Also known as the Polecat!
They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce
There are nearly 1,000 different species!
There are around 3,000 known species worldwide
Snorkies are known for their funny, attention-getting antics.
One of the largest owl species in the world!
Pumps its tail when it flies!
They spend most of their time underground!
There are 140 different species!
They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.
Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!
The stag beetle consumes rotting and decaying wood when it is in the larva stage.
The star-nosed mole has the ability to sense both electrical fields and ground vibrations
There are more than 3,000 different species!
Average adults weigh about 200 grams!
Populations have been affected by pollution!
Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.
The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.
They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite
The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world
The bright colors of this moth are a signal to predators that it has a terrible taste.
The Torkie has a soft silky coat
Can live until they are more than 150 years old!
Found in warmer jungles and forests!
The tree swallow can make more than a dozen distinct vocalizations
Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.
Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted
There are 30 different species worldwide!
There are around 75,000 recognised species!
The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!
White-tail deer are good swimmers
This species is named after the loud whooping sound it makes
Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!
Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.
Releases a strong smelling musk in defence!
The reintroduction of wood bison into Alaska is considered one of the world’s best conservation success stories.
The wood frog lives the furthest north of any other North American amphibian including in the Arctic Circle.
Temperature determines the sex of turtle eggs
This animal can roll up into a ball
Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.
There are 200 different species!
Pack rats love shiny objects and will steal your jewelry.
males pluck webs like strings on a guitar
These dogs are very intelligent and are great with children.
A female zebra mussel can deposit 30,000 to 1,000,000 eggs each year!
Canadian Animals List