Maple syrup. Celine Dion. Hockey. These are some of the things people think of when asked about the most Canadian things our country has to offer. But what about animals? Canada is home to a host of incredible creatures that deserve to be recognized. Here are some of the most iconic ones.
These hoofed giants can be found in Canada’s forests. Weighing in at up to a whopping 550 kilograms and standing up to two metres tall, they’re the largest members of the deer family. It’s no wonder such an awesome Canadian animal even has an ice cream flavour (‘Moose Tracks’) named after it. Unfortunately, in some areas of Canada, moose populations are under threat. Calves are failing to survive their first year because of disease, predators and climate change.
Watch groundbreaking footage of a moose in its first year of life on Moose: A Year in the Life of a Twig Eater.
Canada’s largest rodent isn’t just “that animal on the nickel.” No, our national animal is also a tiny, furry engineer. Beavers build dams, using trees they cut down with their own teeth, to create areas of calm water in which they can build lodges where they live with their families. With their tendency to work tirelessly, it’s easy to see why “busy as a beaver” is such a common expression.
Watch how this industrious animal can help us with a global water shortage.
These gentle marine mammals are found in several places throughout Canada, including the St. Lawrence estuary, Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean. In fact, this species is only found in countries that border the Arctic Ocean, mainly Canada and Russia. In true Canadian form, beluga whales are social animals that look out for one another. A mother whale will even babysit another mother’s baby if needed. How Canadian is that?
Check out this stunning drone footage of a beluga pod in Quebec’s Saguenay River.
If you’re anywhere in Canada, you’re almost sure to find these fluffy little rodents. The most common variety we see in our backyards is the eastern grey squirrel. Don’t let the name fool you, though — they come in a variety of other colours, including brown, black, and even white. The babies, called pinkies (yes, really), are born blind, hairless and helpless. When they grow up, they put on weight and develop bushy coats, becoming the delightfully cuddly-looking creatures Canadians know and love.
Can’t get outside today? Watch some chunky little squirrels foraging for nuts in a park.
That’s right — Canada is also home to the world’s largest species of bear. The big white bears that grace the toonie aren’t just found in the Territories. They’re also found in northern Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and even Ontario! In fact, Ontario’s northernmost provincial park, on the south shore of Hudson Bay, is called Polar Bear Provincial Park. This remote park is only accessible by plane, so keep that in mind when planning to knock this item off your Canadian bucket list. Sadly, this beautiful species is endangered, and due to climate change and habitat loss, we may be the last generation to see them.
While they are fierce predators when grown, the cubs (like the ones below discovering ice for the first time) are fiercely adorable.
Who could forget our beloved Atlantic puffins? The official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador, these adorable seabirds grace our country’s east coast. Puffins mate for life and live in cliffside burrows, where they raise their young until they’re ready to fledge. When they fledge, they leave for months at a time to live alone at sea, but each year they always come back to the place they call home — Canada.
Check out a sweet puffin kiss from the documentary Puffin Patrol.