Animals in Canada

  • 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 192 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.

Canadian Animals

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
  • Haddock
  • Halibut

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.
  4. Occasionally, beavers will kindly open up their lodges to muskrat families in need.
  5. 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.

Canadian Animals

American Coonhound

Easygoing and people-friendly!

American Toad

They secrete a milky poisonous liquid that can make many animals sick.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Arctic Fox

Extremely thick winter fur!

Arctic Hare

Eats berries found in the snow!

Arctic Wolf

Incredibly versatile and adaptive!

Aurochs

Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barred Owl

Like other owls, the barred owl swallows its prey whole.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bea-Tzu

The Bea-Tzu has a fast-growing coat

Beabull

An excellent companion for cats!

Bear

There are 8 different species!

Beaver

Builds a dam from sticks and leaves!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn rams can run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour when fighting for dominance.

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Bison

Largest mammal in North America!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blue Jay

Blue jays rub ants on their feather to remove harmful acids

Bobcat

About double the size of a domestic cat!

Brown Bear

A dominant predator in it's environment!

Bullfrog

Has loud cow-like calls!

Bumblebee

The most common species of bee!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

Camel Cricket

The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.

Canada Lynx

They have natural snowshoes

Canadian Horse

Canadian horses are believed to generate more power per pound of body weight than any other horse breed in the world.

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chickadee

Chickadees are named for the sound they make: Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Chipmunk

There are 25 different species!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Common Loon

Also known as the Great Northern Diver

Common Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.

Cooper’s Hawk

Eyes change color as they age

Cougar

Largest feline in North America

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Coyote

Also known as the Prairie Wolf!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Crane

Many are critically endangered species!

Deer

There are around 40 different species!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Doxle

Doxles have long floppy ears

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eastern Bluebird

Bluebirds drop straight down on their prey from their perch, much like leopards.

Eastern Phoebe

This passerine bird can sing its song without ever hearing another bird vocalize first.

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Elk

Adult males can jump eight feet vertically

Ermine

A very bold and ferocious predator!

Eskimo Dog

Takes pure delight in cold weather!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.

Ferruginous Hawk

The ferruginous hawk comes in both light and dark morphs

Fisher Cat

The fisher is an agile climber and makes its home in tree hollows

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Fox

There are 12 different species in the world!

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Giant Salamander

Cryptobranchus giant salamanders breathe mostly through their skin.

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Goose

There are 29 different species!

Gopher

They dig large networks of tunnels!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Grasshopper Mouse

The grasshopper mice attack predators using the poison of their venom.

Gray Fox

The gray fox has retractable claws and a rotating wrist that allow it to climb trees with some proficiency

Gray Tree Frog

Survives freezing temperatures by producing glycerol and maintaining slower metabolic processes

Green Frog

Green frogs will eat any animal that they can fit in their mouth.

Grizzly Bear

Less than 10% make it into adulthood

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Ibex

Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill

Imperial Moth

Since the imperial moth doesn’t eat, it does die shortly after it lays its eggs. Its lifespan is only about one week.

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Kangaroo Rat

Merriam’s kangaroo rats literally never have to drink water

Kinder Goat

Best jumper of all goats

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Labraheeler

These dogs have medium-sized pendant ears.

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lemming

Does not hibernate during the bitter Arctic winter!

Leopard Frog

They can jump up to three feet

Little Brown Bat

The little brown bat uses echolocation to quickly navigate around its environment

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!

Lynx

Live in dens in rocks and under ledges!

Mallard

With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

Marble Fox

The marble fox is not a naturally occurring variant; it was created through artificial selection.

Marmot

A marmot spends 80% of its life below ground

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Moose

Renews it's enormous antlers every year!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Bluebird

Depending on the time of the year, the mountain bird can live as far north as Alaska.

Mountain Lion

Has no real natural predators!

Mourning Dove

It is almost always the male who makes the famous sad sound, which is a wooing call

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mudpuppy

Mudpuppies never leave their larval stage. This is called neoteny.

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Muskox

Muskox have several physical characteristics that allow them to survive in the Arctic climate.

Muskrat

The muskrat can stay underwater up to 17 minutes at a time

Newfoundland

Introduced by Vikings more than 1,000 years ago!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

North American Black Bear

Short claws make them good tree climbers!

Northern Cardinal

Males are a bright red color, also called "cardinal red"

Opossum

Thought to be immune to certain snake venom!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Painted Turtle

Male painted turtles have longer nails.

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pigeon

They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Pika

Found in mountainous regions and rocky areas

Pike Fish

Apex freshwater predators with fearsome teeth!

Pileated Woodpecker

Pairs establish territories and remain all year

Polar Bear

Could be extinct within the next 30 years!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Porpoise

Surprisingly, not a dolphin!

Prairie Rattlesnake

The striking distance of a prairie rattlesnake is 2/3rds the length of its body.

Puffin

Can remain in the water for up to 2 minutes!

Puma

Has longer back legs than front legs!

Purple Finch

The intensity of the plumage can change based on what the bird eats

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Raccoon

Known to wash their food before eating it!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Rattlesnake

It's venom digests it's prey before it even swallows it!

Red Finch

Red finches can form flocks of over 100 birds.

Red Squirrel

The red squirrel has one of the most impressive memories in the entire animal kingdom

Red-winged blackbird

The male red-winged blackbird can sing to attract mates

Reindeer

Also known as the Caribou

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

Rodents

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.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are closely related to cardinals

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbirds can beat their wings more than 50 times per second.

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Salmon

Returns upstream every year to spawn

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sharp-Tailed Snake

This snake uses its sharp tail to steady itself when capturing prey.

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Siberian Retriever

Many husky Labs have one blue eye and one brown eye.

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.

Skunk

Also known as the Polecat!

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Snorkie

Snorkies are known for their funny, attention-getting antics.

Snowy Owl

One of the largest owl species in the world!

Spadefoot Toad

They spend most of their time underground!

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Star-nosed mole

The star-nosed mole has the ability to sense both electrical fields and ground vibrations

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Stoat

Average adults weigh about 200 grams!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Thrush

The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.

Torkie

The Torkie has a soft silky coat

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Tree swallow

The tree swallow can make more than a dozen distinct vocalizations

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Walleye Fish

Has great night vision

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Weasel

The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!

White-tail deer

White-tail deer are good swimmers

Whooping Crane

This species is named after the loud whooping sound it makes

Wolf

Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Wolverine

Releases a strong smelling musk in defence!

Wood Bison

The reintroduction of wood bison into Alaska is considered one of the world’s best conservation success stories.

Wood Frog

The wood frog lives the furthest north of any other North American amphibian including in the Arctic Circle.

Wood Turtle

Temperature determines the sex of turtle eggs

Woodlouse

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Yoranian

These dogs are very intelligent and are great with children.

Canadian Animals List