The Top 10 Deadliest Animals in Canada

Written by Thomas Godwin
Updated: September 12, 2023
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Key Points

  • Canada features far more wilderness than the US, which makes it more dangerous to the unwary.
  • The deadliest animal in Canada is as surprising as the way it kills.
  • Over 80% of Canadian territory is completely untouched by human beings.

The deadliest animals in Canada are roughly the same as the ones in America. The difference is, over 80% of Canada is essentially wilderness, untouched by human beings. It’s hard to drive a mile in America without running into a convenience store or a Waffle House.

The elements rule much of Canada’s wild and untamed territory, where the fiercest predators reign as kings and queens of their respective hills. To venture into the Canadian wilderness is to place your life in the hands of nature’s unpredictable and unbridled elements.

10. Cougar

10. Cougar

When a mountain


attacks, it goes in for the kill.

©Geoffrey Kuchera/

It should be no surprise that the cougar is one of the ten deadliest animals in Canada. Infused with liquid speed and lightning reflexes, these powerful animals, also known as mountain lions, sometimes prowl in the wake of human passage, possibly on the hunt.

Fortunately, they rarely engage in predatory pursuits of humans and stick with simpler, less intelligent, and more defenseless prey. However, it does happen from time to time, and it’s a deadly battle against raw muscle and rapid twitch fibers compounded with ferociously sharp claws and teeth. A cougar usually goes for the throat, whether the prey is a wayward duck or an unobservant human who never saw it coming.

9. Portuguese Man O’ War

9. Portuguese Man O' War

Beautiful in their own way, Portuguese Man O’ Wars

carry lethal toxins and a vicious sting.


Something that strongly resembles a jellyfish probably isn’t high on anyone’s ‘deadliest animals in Canada list.’ But Portuguese Man O’ Wars are frequently washing up on Canadian shorelines and their stinging tentacles pack a wallop.

According to Canadian authorities, the Portuguese Man O’ War is the most venomous animal in Canadian waters. Its stings are enormously painful, with some comparing it to pouring molten glass over raw flesh. Healthy adults are the most resilient but children, those who have weak immune systems, and the elderly are the most vulnerable to its deadly toxins.

8. Coyote

8. Coyote

A pair of coyotes.


Coyotes are incredibly skittish, however, when they are starving or whipped into a frenzy, they quickly become some of the deadliest animals in Canada. People have more to worry about if they ever cross a rabid coyote as well. The good news is, coyotes avoid humans to the best of their abilities.

We list them as deadly because they are more than capable of crossing a lone child or defending their meal from a pesky human. As carnivores, they are fast, agile, and have sharp teeth made for tearing and pulling apart meat.

7. Orca

7. Orca

Killer Whale


Orcinus orca

, female with calf.


They carry the name ‘killer whales’ for a reason. Orcas are some of the most fiercely intelligent marine mammals with generational learning and behavioral capabilities only eclipsed by that of humans. Once upon a time, a killer whale figured out a way to flip a great white shark upside down.

The tactic soon became widely taught and hereditary, eerily like humans teaching their children. They communicate with each other in a variety of ways and are one of the only marine mammals that seem to derive joy from toying with their prey. While they are beautiful, powerful creatures, it’s best to avoid them if you’re on any boat smaller than an aircraft carrier.

6. Gray Wolf

6. Gray Wolf

Open shot of two wolves from the pack.

©Lillian Tveit/

We’ve all seen the movies of killer wolves, stalking stranded human beings who somehow ended up in the wilderness by accident and happenstance. The reality is less grim. Like coyotes, wolves will go well out of their way to avoid human beings. However, the two have crossed paths before and in violent ways.

Wolves will attack if provoked, sense an opportunity, or have a history of violence with people. Fortunately, these things are rare. Due to their size, social pack mentality, hunting capabilities, and ferocious strength, wolves are easily among the deadliest animals in Canada.

5. Black Widow

Most Dangerous Spiders

Black widow spider bites rarely kill people, but it’s important to get medical attention as soon as you can because they can make you very sick.

©Sari ONeal/

The black widow skulks in the dark corners and recesses of southern homes within Canada. Its bite is not likely to kill anyone but it is possible, especially for the elderly and the very young. These wicked-looking spiders feature a bright red shape on their abdomens in the form of an hourglass.

Most people harbor a level of fear when it comes to spiders and fewer are true arachnophobes. Regardless, most people immediately conjure images of the dreaded black widow when they hear the word ‘spider.’

4. Black Bear

4. Black Bear

A black bear acting aggressively and making some noise.

©Joshua Daniiel/

It’s best to make yourself look larger, use bear spray, scream at the top of your lungs, and stare down a black bear. Running will get you nowhere (black bears can run up to 30 mph). Playing dead will get you nowhere (a hungry black bear will eat you anyway). Climbing a tree delays the inevitable (black bears can climb trees).

The best thing you can do is avoid running into black bears if at all possible. While they are typically skittish of humans, a mama bear with nearby cubs may not be so shy. While they lack the size and height of grizzlies and polar bears, a black bear is more than a match for any human in a contest of unarmed combat.

3. Grizzly Bear

3. Grizzly Bear

A Grizzly bear shows its teeth in the snow.

©Dennis W Donohue/

The grizzly is the most notorious of all the bears, though black bears hold their own in that regard. As one of the deadliest animals in Canada, the grizzly bear is immensely powerful, huge, and capable of snapping bone with 1,100 psi of pressure and teeth.

They are as fast as black bears, reaching up to 30 mph, and can swing hard enough to bat a 500 lb object aside like dry kindling. A grizzly prefers to push its prey against the ground or a tree and use its rear leg paws to eviscerate and disembowel. They’re very sweet.

2. Polar Bear

2. Polar Bear

The Polar Bear is a solitary animal that can not only run at speeds of up to 25mph but its strong ability to swim at 6mph makes it a true apex predator within its environment.

©Vaclav Sebek/

If you judge polar bears by those old Coca-Cola commercials, consider yourself disillusioned. These apex predators make grizzly bears look like mid-size dogs. They’re enormous and easily the most aggressive of all the bear species in the world. If not for the accidents we cover below, they would be our number one choice as the deadliest animals in Canada.

Fortunately, these bears are less known for attacking humans. However, that has less to do with what they are and more to do with where they live. Polar bears prefer the arctic life and live in places that most humans find to be irrepressible cold and inhospitable. In other words, turn up the heater and head south.

1. Moose

1. Moose

A leisurely moose, scoping out the territory.


No one ever guesses ‘moose’ on a list of the deadliest animals in Canada, much less anywhere else. The fact is, moose are responsible for over 15 deaths per year and nearly 250 deaths between the years 2000 and 2014. Why? Are they really that aggressive? Hardly.

Moose are the deadliest animals in Canada because drivers hit them in their cars. As you would expect, this is detrimental for both the moose and those inside the car. A male moose is capable of reaching up to 1,500 lbs with females not far behind. If you can imagine 3/4 of a ton of animals plowing through the windshield at 50 mph, you can see why they make the #1 spot. It’s unfortunate for humans and moose alike.

Summary of the Top 10 Deadliest Animals in Canada

Some of the animals on our list are obvious choices, while others are simply confounding. The thing is, most of these animals will be born, grow up, grow old, and die without ever seeing a human being. With the possible exception of orcas, these animals don’t go on murderous rampages (orcas are just awesome on an entirely different level).

However, that doesn’t mean they don’t qualify as ‘deadly’. These are wild animals, brutal, beautiful, and terrifying in many ways. Many of them are the sources behind the nightmare monsters we create in movies, books, and comics today. All because someone had a deadly encounter with one, thousands and thousands of years ago, and painted the story on a cave wall.

These ten animals represent the pinnacle of mammalian (arachnid and invertebrate too) power in a country that is almost entirely wilderness. Their majestic natures are only betrayed by their fierce brutality when they move in for the kill. Love them, observe them, be fascinated by them, appreciate their raw power and barely restrained ferocity, and leave them well alone.

Most DangerousSpeciesThreat
1.MooseVehicular Accidents
2.Polar BearMauling
3.Grizzly BearMauling
4.Black BearMauling
5.Black WidowBiting
6.Gray WolfMauling
7.OrcaRaw Brutality
9.Portuguese Man O’ WarStinging

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ms. Li/

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About the Author

Thomas is a freelance writer with an affinity for the great outdoors and Doberman Pinschers. When he's not sitting behind the computer, pounding out stories on black bears and reindeer, he's spending time with his family, two Dobermans (Ares and Athena), and a Ragdoll cat named Heimdal. He also tends his Appleyard Ducks and a variety of overly curious and occasionally vexatious chickens.

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