By landmass, Canada is the world’s second-largest country and home to approximately 1,950 different types of animals. 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.
Below, you’ll find a complete list of Canadian animals — with fantastic pictures! We currently track 332 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 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. Most notably, the following types of animals are found in Canada and in surrounding waters:
Mammals in Canada
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.
When you search “number of bird species in Canada,” you’ll get many different answers. Some counts only include animals 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 importing, and stayed — or visit for half the year.
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
- Rainbow Trout
- Arctic Char
- Brook Trout
Common Salt-Water Fish
- Atlantic Cod
Surprisingly, the reptile world is widely represented in the Great White North. Crocodiles are the only reptile group not represented in Canada. Vast and beautiful, Canada is home to some not-so-pleasant reptiles, such as venomous snakes.
Common Venomous Snakes in Canada
- Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (British Columbia)
- Massasauga (Georgian Bay Area of Ontario)
- Prairie Rattlesnake (S. Saskatchewan; Alberta)
- Desert Nighsnake (Endemic to southern Okanagan valley of British Columbia)
If bitten by a reptile, especially snake, it is always necessary to seek professional medical attention, even if thought to be harmless.
You can also read about the largest snake found in Canada.
National Animals of Canada
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.
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 that of unsureness. However, any proud Canadian will set skeptics straight, explaining that beavers are hard-working and highly intelligent, able to build structures visible from space! “What better animal is there to celebrate and uplift?” And we agree: beavers are quite 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. While 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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
Prairie rattlesnakes slither around southwestern Alberta, and if you come across one, be very careful! It is rare for people to die from snake bites, however, it does happen. For instance, in 2018, a man lost his life after a prairie rattlesnake struck him during a golf outing. If bitten, stay calm and call 911 immediately.
Cougars, the second heaviest big cat after the jaguar, rarely attack humans, but they will in trying times or in defence of young cubs. In Canada, they live around the Rocky Mountain region.
Polar bears are beautiful and deadly! While they won’t charge people, unless provoked, it is important to watch out! Polar bears weigh between 330 and 1,200 pounds and have been known to decapitate humans with one swipe of their giant paws.
Zoos in Canada
Canada is home to 28 accredited zoos, with the Toronto Zoo being the largest. The top 5 zoos to visit in Canada are as follows:
- Toronto Zoo – Especially known for its Great Barrier Reef and Tundra Trek exhibits, this zoo is the largest in Canada. About 5,000 animals of 450+ species roam the 710 acres. Opportunities for riding animal-themed rides are available, along with walking trails, interacting with wildlife, and attending keeper talks and feedings.
- Calgary Zoo – Not only home to wolves, bears, and African wildlife, this zoo is known for its amazing panda exhibit and Conservatory Gardens and Butterflies section, holding a plethora of flying beauties and green fauna.
- Edmonton Zoo – Around 100 species are displayed in this zoo, the most popular being red pandas and a 45-year-old Asian elephant named Lucy. Focused on wildlife conservation, the Edmonton Zoo works toward educating visitors with interactive programs and intimate experiences.
- Granby Zoo – Located outside of Montreal lies the Granby Zoo, established in 1953 and home to 200+ species of animal. Of the many attractions, the petting zoo, monorail, waterpark, and jungle training camp for kids draw visitors in. Also available is an interactive dinosaur exhibit and feeding rays and birds.
- Magnetic Hill Zoo – Focused on protecting wildlife and habitats, the Magnetic Hill Zoo promotes education and interaction of visitors. Some exciting species found here include Madagascar lemurs, Amur tigers, and Gibbon apes. Zookeeper programs for children are especially attractive to visitors.
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!
Main vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever
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!
The family Entelodontidae is commonly referred to as "hell pigs."
Arctic char is the northern-most fish; no other fish lives anywhere further north!
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
Some blue racers have smooth scales that are solid electric blue while others are grayish or brownish.
The world record for longest bluegill is 15 inches.
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.
Females glue egg cases to furniture
A dominant predator in it's environment!
Can live its entire life indoors
The bull trout is not actually a trout, but a member of the char family.
Considered “The farmer’s friend” because it eats mice and other vermin.
The most common species of bee!
There are thought to be up 17,500 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
These birds travel more than 3,000 miles during migration!
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!
Unlike modern lions, cave lions didn't have a significant mane.
Cecropia moths don’t have digestive tracts, so they can’t eat.
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!
Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.
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
The Second 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.
They are called snowbirds because many subspecies reappear in the winter.
There are around 40 different species!
Commonly found on white-tailed deer
Adult males make high amplitude boing noise to attract females
First domesticated in South-East Asia!
Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals
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.
The name chipmunk is derived from an Ojibwe word that means “one who descends the trees headfirst.”
Eastern gray squirrels use both memory and scent to find their buried caches of food during the winter.
Eastern hognose snakes are venomous, but only to frogs and toads.
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!
Female can lay up to 600 eggs in her 14-day lifespan
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!
In some areas, fox snakes and gopher snakes have crossbred in the wild.
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
Female garter snakes give birth to live young rather than laying eggs!
The most common type of urban roach
When giant leopard moths mate, their mating sessions last over 24 hours.
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!
Use acute hearing to hunt
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.
There are two types of green snakes: smooth green snakes and rough green snakes
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!
Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.
Inhabits wetlands around the world!
Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!
The Hobo Spider travels city to city like an actual Hobo and is often found near railroad tracks!
Prima Donnas of the Snake World
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
It has delicious meat with an affordable price
Merriam’s kangaroo rats literally never have to drink water
The killdeer feigns injury to draw a predator away from its nest.
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!
Only females have the ‘lone star’ marking
Ear tufts make it look bigger!
Live in dens in rocks and under ledges!
Machaeroides had large saber-teeth, much like the saber-toothed tiger.
Will travel up to 70 miles in a single day.
Will only live in wet areas
Maiasaura dinosaurs can grow to 31 feet long.
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!
When they feel threatened juvenile night herons vomit their stomach contents.
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"
Northern Flickers often make their homes in dead trees.
Thought to be immune to certain snake venom!
Often mistaken for the Tennessee Warblers, which are equally dull.
Females are about four times the size of males
Ornithomimus translates from Greek to mean “bird mimic.”
There are 13 different species worldwide
The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees
Male painted turtles have longer nails.
Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!
The Parasaurolophus ran on its hindlegs at speeds of up to 30mph!
Seeks out sources of light
Teachers in schools often use the evolution of the peppered moth as a good example of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
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.
Pit vipers's fangs fold up into their mouths when they don't need them.
The plains hognose snake gets its name from the upturned end of its snout.
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.
Pterodactyl is not technically a dinosaur. Although they lived during the same time as dinosaurs, they are classified as winged reptiles.
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!
Queen snakes have armor-like scales on the top of their head
Known to wash their food before eating it!
The racer snake can speed away at up to 3.5 miles per hour
Omnivores that eat anything!
Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.
It's venom digests it's prey before it even swallows it!
Sliders spend lots of time basking in the sun. As cold-blooded animals, they need the sun to heat up.
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 ring-billed gull feeds on vast quantities of human waste and garbage.
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!
Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.
There are more than 700 different species!
Returns upstream every year to spawn
The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail
The Savannah sparrow gets its name because one of the first of this type of bird was found in the city of Savannah, Georgia.
There are around 2,000 known species!
Its skull bones can compress so the fish can fit in narrow spaces
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
Has up to 45 eggs per egg case
There are nearly 1,000 different species!
There are around 3,000 known species worldwide
Snorkies are known for their funny, attention-getting antics.
They are pollinators, just like bees.
One of the largest owl species in the world!
Called "red salmon" because their skin turns bright red to dirty red during spawning season
Pumps its tail when it flies!
They spend most of their time underground!
There are 140 different species!
Many people believe that because the Sphynx doesn't have a lot of fur, they are easily maintained. However, their upkeep is demanding!
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
Steelhead live in freshwater rivers and streams for 1 to 2 years before migrating into the ocean
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 tomato hornworm is a ferocious pest that can eat all parts of a plant, including the fruits.
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
Troodon formosus means "wounding tooth" in Greek, a name that describes its serrated teeth.
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 Wax Moth larvae are more dangerous than the adult.
The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!
Primarily solitary, these snakes only communicate with one another during breeding season.
There are two different types of white ferrets!
White-tail deer are good swimmers
This species is named after the loud whooping sound it makes
Only the males fly and the females walk.
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.
Almost always found above 4,000 feet in elevation
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