What wildlife is in Canada?

Canada is home to some of the most impressive animals on the planet—and unsurprisingly, this is a major draw for many people.

From polar bears and grizzly bears to orcas and cougars, there is so much diversity in Canada’s wildlife. Here are some of the things you need to know.


  • • What is Canada's national animal?
  • • What animals are in Canada?
  • • What is the most endangered animal in Canada?

What is Canada's national animal?

Despite being home to an array of large animals, it’s the beaver that is Canada’s national animal as it represents the colonial past of the country.

Canada’s largest rodent, the beaver, is a big, nocturnal, semi-aquatic animal that is famed for building dams, canals and lodges. From the early 17th century the trade in beaver pelts had been at the centre of Canada’s economy.

The beaver is predominantly found in the forested regions across the country and it is an animal you can see on wildlife holidays in Canada. Generally, these fascinating animals live in streams, where they build dams made of sticks, logs, mud and other debris.

Here are some fast facts about the beaver:

  • • The average age of a beaver in the wild is 24 years
  • • Their estimated population is around 6-12 million around the world
  • • Beavers boast dark reddish and brown coats

What animals are in Canada?

With the Rocky Mountains, prairies, Arctic tundra and temperate rainforests, it should come as little surprise that there are a variety of animals that call Canada their home. Some of the world’s most spectacular animals live here and you could see some of your favourites animals in just one trip. Here we take you through some of the animals you can expect to see.


Wildlife in Canada: 11 animals you could meet


When people think about animals are in Canada, the first animal that springs to mind is bears. With polar bears, grizzly bears, black bears and spirit, or ‘Kermode’ bears, you are spoilt for choice.

Polar bears descend on Churchill and the surrounding area, which is why it’s known as the polar bear capital of the world. These fascinating animals are the only bear to be considered a marine mammal as they depend so much on the marine environment for survival.

British Columbia is the best place on the planet to go bear watching as the province is home to more than half of the world's bear population. Here, and across most parts of Canada, you can see grizzly bears. With our Bear and Wildlife Watching tour at Knight Inlet Lodge, you can see one of the largest concentrations of grizzly bears in the world.

Black bears—the smallest of the three bears—are also a common sight across Canada. The Kermode bear is a rare subspecies of the black bear and can be found in the North Coast regions of British Columbia.

With our bear watching holidays, you can get up close to these majestic animals.


How to safely and responsibly watch wildlife in Canada

Discovering the wildlife of the Canadian Rockies


Canada is home to more than 200,000 km of coastline and over 30 species of whales.

Watch resident, fish-eating killer whales spend their summers in the Salish Sea and Alaska eating Chinook salmon. You’ll also see Bigg’s, mammal-eating killer whales in British Columbia throughout the year.

Humpback whales are also a common sight as they spend their summers in Canada’s waters, while Minke whales are commonly spotted on a daily basis. You may also see fin whales and gray whales too.


Where to see rare and impressive wildlife in Alaska


This iconic Canadian animal is the largest member of the deer family and the male moose is very recognisable with its huge antlers, long faces and muzzles.

Moose are gifted swimmers and have been known to swim underwater to eat aquatic plants such as water lilies. On land, moose prefer to eat higher grasses and shrubs since lowering their heads can often be tough.

An interesting fact is that moose can’t sweat and are therefore found in parts of Canada with a colder climate.


Canada is a bird watcher’s paradise as there are millions of species found all over Canada. The most famous bird that lives in Canada is the iconic bald eagle with its bright yellow beak, white feathers on its head and dark brown feathers on its body. Bald eagles generally live close to rivers and by the sea.

The lakes and forests of Canada are also home to lots of other birds, like Atlantic puffins, northern gannets, albatross, and peregrine and prairie falcons.


After Russia, Canada has the largest population of the grey wolf. These intriguing animals are the largest wild member of the dog family and are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl and famous pack mentality.

Although the likes of British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories and Labrador have established habitats for wolves, these animals can travel more than 12 miles in one day as they stalk larger prey like deer and moose.

Other animals you can see in Canada:

  • • Wood buffalo
  • • Cougar
  • • Coyote
  • • Caribou
  • • White-tailed deer
  • • Lynx
  • • Harp seals

What is the most endangered animal in Canada?

Canada is home to around 80,000 different species, but many are facing threats to their survival. In fact, a study by the WWF found that more than 600 plant and animal species are at risk and are currently protected under the federal Species at Risk Act.

Critically endangered animals in Canada

  • Bocaccio Rockfish is one of the most endangered animals in Canada. The fish can be found along the coasts of British Columbia and its common habitat is in shallow waters with rocky reefs, piers, floats and kelp beds.
  • Eskimo Curlew is a critically endangered bird species in Canada. The shorebird was once found in large populations in the western Arctic tundra, but is now a very rare sight due to overhunting for food.
  • Shortnose Cisco is a freshwater fish that was previously found in large populations in the Great Lakes of Canada but is now restricted within Lake Huron.
  • Vancouver Island marmot is a rodent species and is one of the world’s rarest species living in the mountains of Vancouver Island. Predators of the marmot include the golden eagle, cougars and wolves—but the likes of Toronto Zoo are now making efforts to save the species from extinction.


Protecting Canada’s wildlife

Do you want to see some of these incredible animals? If the answer is yes, then look at our range of wildlife holidays and breaks in Canada.

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