Canadian Animals: 16 Iconic Species

Somi Ghosh
Somi Ghosh Facts & How-To's
15 Min Read
Image from Pixabay

The warm summer and the cold winter of Canada help it to create a perfect habitat for iconic Canadian animals. Did you know that this land has some of the widest range of species on earth? 

Canadian Animals Species-

There are about 70,000 to 80,000 plant and animal species in Canada and it is stated by various scientists that an equal number of new species and prototypes are yet to be discovered. 

Here is a list of 16 iconic Canadian animals that you might catch a glimpse of if you plan to visit Canada.

1. Polar Bears

Canada is a country near the Arctic Ocean and is a natural shelter for Polar Bears. Due to climate change, the population of these fluffy white creatures is deteriorating day by day.

It is believed that approximately 890 species of Canadian animals are endangered and the polar bear is one among them.

endangered polar bear
Photo by Inactive account – ID 358611/ 2023.

You can catch a glimpse of these creatures in the months of October and November as they migrate through the Hudson bay to towns like Churchill. In fact, Manitoba in Churchill is also claimed by many scientists as the capital of Polar bears.

2. Kermode Bears

Kermode Bear is a subspecies of black bear which is also known as the spirit bear. These bears are mostly found in the great bear rainforest and have white and black color phases. However, only 10 percent of the kermode bears are white in colour.

The life span of these Canadian animals extends up to 20 to 25 years and currently, there are only 400 to 1200 surviving kermode bears existing in Canada.

It is estimated that the interbreeding of these animals with other subspecies of black bears will decrease their population and gradually this species of bears will cease to exist.

3. Grizzly Bears

A subspecies of a black bear called the Cinnamon bear is quite well known among people as a Grizzly Bear. The largest amounts of grizzly bears are found in Waterton Lakes National Park and Kananaskis located in Alberta.

There are nearly 700 grizzly bears in Alberta and about 15000 in the neighboring areas of British Columbia.

Animal lovers can identify these Canadian animals by their brown fur, prominent shoulder hump, small round ears, and claws which are different from a black bear and have short and sharp claws. A grizzly bear has much longer claws than a black bear.

4. Mountain Lion

Cougar or Mountain Lion is another animal in western Canada that has made its way into the list of endangered species. A mountain lion is a large cat with beige fur.

Currently, British Columbia has the highest number of mountain lions which goes up to 4000.

A mountain lion can run at a speed of 64 to 80 km per hour and their diet mainly consists of young deer, mountain goats, wild sheep, elk, and moose.

5. Painted Turtles

Painted Turtles are fascinating and colorful Canadian animals found in the ponds, lakes, rivers, and creeks of southern Canada. These small turtles are 10 to 18 cm in length.

They have dark shells and yellow stripes on their legs. Painted turtles live for up to 50 years and they feed on plants and aquatic insects.

Painted turtles got their names because of their colorful marking along their head, necks, and shell. Painted turtles are peace-loving but they tend to bite when they are disturbed but their bites do not cause any serious damage.

Bird Species of Canada-

The fascinating wildlife in Canada is best for bird watching as well. The natural habitat of Canada helps in sustaining and increasing up to 462 unique bird species. The most common are Atlantic puffin, Canada goose, bald eagles, and common loon.

Let us read and learn about these unique and smaller animals so that next time you go bird watching in Canada, you will be able to spot them immediately.

6. Common Loon

One can identify a Common Loon by its black head, sharp bill, red eyes, and a strip of a white collar around its neck. The body of a common loon is spotted in black and white.

One can find a common loon in Ontario and on the clear water lakes of the boreal forest. They can swim and dive into the water and their sharp bills help them to catch small fish which saves them from hunger.

7. Canada Goose

You can spot these migratory species on the fresh marshes of Canada which are shallow and enveloped with short grasses. Blackhead, brown body, and two white spots just below their beak is the unique feature of these species.

Algae, seeds, roots, and berries form the major portion of their diet. But at times they prefer small fish, insects, and aquatic invertebrates like mollusks as well.

Canadian Animals
Photo by MabelAmber/ Copyright 2023.

These gentle species of birds are extremely friendly toward humans and rarely show aggression, especially during the time of nesting.

Canada geese are extremely intelligent with a sharp memory and therefore they generally mate for life and remember different situations and people.

8. Bald Eagle

Bald eagles are the most majestic birds that you can find in Canada. The elegant brown plumes on their body contrast perfectly with the yellow beak and white plumes on their head.

These predatory birds live for nearly thirty years and feed on little animals like rabbits, snakes, waterfowl, fish, and turtles.

If you wish to spot a bald eagle then you must go to Alberta, British Columbia, or the northwest territories of Ontario.

9. Atlantic Puffin

These cute and colorful seabirds of the Auk family are also known as common puffins, sea parrots, and clowns of the sea. These puffins are mostly found in eastern territories of Canada like Newfoundland and Labrador.

These medium-sized seabirds have big heads, short necks, and large triangular bills.

Small fishes form a major part of their diet. They can fly at a speed of 88 km per hour. These seabirds are great swimmers too and can dive up to 6m under the water to catch their preferred fish.

Canadian Whale Species-

The oceans of Canada are inhabited by large marine mammals of different species such as fin whales, killer whales, and beluga whales. Some surprising facts about these massive marine mammals include:

  • They bear sticking similarities with animals that live on land.
  • They are mammals, which means, they take care of their young ones and feed them milk until they reach a certain age.
  • Secondly, despite living underwater, whales have lungs and breathe air.
  • Thirdly, they are warm-blooded animals and grows has hair during a certain period of their life which they shed gradually.

So, let’s dive deeper into the reading to know more about the different species of these fascinating marine creatures and where can you find them in Canada.

10. Killer Whales

You can spot a Killer Whale in British Columbia throughout the year. It spends the time of summer in the Salish Sea where they feed on Chinook salmon.

A killer whale is also known as Orca and is a type of toothed whale. A killer whale has 46 to 50 sharp conical teeth which are well-adapted for hunting. They can swim at a speed of 56 km per hour and herrings form a major part of their diet.

11. Beluga Whale

The Beluga Whale is a gentle marine mammal found in several places in Canada, like the Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay. Beluga whales live for up to 35 to 50 years and are about 11 to 15 feet long.

These species of whales are extremely social and friendly, and they are also the smallest species of whales.

They are also known as white whales and can be identified by their unique color and prominent forehead.

The main diet of these Canadian animals consists of octopuses, shrimp, crabs, squids, snails, and sandworms.

12. Fin Whales

Fin Whales are also commonly known as razorback whales, herring whales, and common rorqual. Canadian Pacific and the northern coast of British Columbia are places where fin whales can be spotted regularly.

They can swim at a speed of 47 km per hour and can be identified by their contrasting color jaws. The lower left jaw of a fin whale is black, while the lower right jaw is white. 

Canadian Animals in Wood Buffalo National Park

Wood Buffalo National Park located in Northeastern Alberta, is considered the second largest among the world’s national parks. This national park in Canada is believed to cover larger areas than Scotland.

This national park spans an area of 44800 square kilometers and is and is a habitat for a variety of wild Canadian animals.

The coniferous and deciduous forests act as a habitat for incredible animals like moose, black bears, and Canadian lynxes.

13. Wood Bison or Wood Buffalo

Canada used to shelter a large number of Wood Bison and Plains Bison. I

t is believed that the number of wood bison in Canada amounted to 170000 but the amount started to drop since the 1880s due to habitat loss, disease, and over-exploitation.

There are currently 2800 to 3500 wood buffaloes in Alberta after massive conservation efforts.

14. Canadian Lynx

Canadian Lynx are animals that look quite similar to bobcats but can be identified by their tufted ears. These animals form a part of the endangered wildlife in Canada. They prefer rocky mountains and are mostly found in northern Canada.

These Canadian animals have wide paws and thick furs which help them hunt and feed on snowshoe hares, sparrows, squirrels, and various kinds of rodents found in the rocky mountain region.

One of the major causes that have affected the population of this Lynx Canadensis is urbanization, logging, and road construction.

15. Black bear

Black Bears are a species of large Canadian animals that are well-known to all wildlife lovers.

Even though their population was decreasing due to the loss of habitat, now due to the efforts of the government their amount has risen and this species is removed from the endangered list of Canadian wildlife.

Canadian Animals
Photo by Pete Nuij on Unsplash

Currently, there are nearly 500000 black bears present in Canada. These fascinating animals are omnivores and they survive on fruits, berries, eggs, insects, and small mammals.

16. Moose

Moose are a subspecies of the deer family and they are found almost everywhere in Canada except the Arctic areas. They form a major part of the wildlife in Canada.

This largest species of deer has huge antlers and poor eyesight which is supplemented by a strong sense of smell and hearing. Moose are great swimmers and can be found strolling down the banks of small streams and lakes in Canada.

These Canadian animals are herbivores and generally feed on the leaves of woody plants, pin cherry, maple, and birch. Moose are peaceful animals but they can run at a speed of 35 kilometers per hour and can become aggressive when they feel threatened.

Other than Wood Buffalo National Park there are several other national parks that an animal lover or a tourist can visit to get a glimpse of Canadian wildlife.

Names of such national parks are Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Bow Valley Parkway, Vancouver Island, Ontario, Newfoundland, and Labrador.

Some of the Canadian animals that you can find here are moose, bald eagles, and Canadian horses.


The wildlife of Canada is very diverse and there are several other unique Canadian animals that deserve mention such as harbor seals, river otters, barren ground caribou, collared pika, Arctic hare, wolverine, ermine, swift fox, pine marten, black-tailed prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, etc.

So, if you are a nature lover you will definitely enjoy the fascinating wildlife of Canada.

Last Updated on by Sanjana

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