- 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 134 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
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.
Endangered Canadian Animals
- Canada Lynx
- Polar Bear
- Sea Otter
- Black-Footed Ferret
- Northern Fur Seal
- Steller Sea Lion
- Hooded Seal
- North Atlantic Right Whale
- North Pacific Right Whale
- Sei Whale
- Blue Whale
- Fin Whale
- Whooping Crane
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?
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.
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 List
- American Coonhound
- Arctic Fox
- Arctic Hare
- Arctic Wolf
- Barn Owl
- Black Widow Spider
- Blue Jay
- Brown Bear
- Canadian Eskimo Dog
- Common Loon
- Cooper’s Hawk
- Eskimo Dog
- Glass Lizard
- Glow Worm
- Gray Tree Frog
- Green Frog
- Grizzly Bear
- Highland Cattle
- Honey Bee
- Leopard Frog
- Long-Eared Owl
- Monarch Butterfly
- Mountain Lion
- Mourning Dove
- North American Black Bear
- Peregrine Falcon
- Pike Fish
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Polar Bear
- Purple Finch
- Red Finch
- River Turtle
- Saber-Toothed Tiger
- Snowy Owl
- Spadefoot Toad
- Stick Insect
- Tree Frog
- Walleye Fish
- Whooping Crane
- Wolf Spider