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Flea

Fleas are very small, wingless, laterally flattened insects of the order Siphonaptera. They’re best known for being external parasites on mammals and occasionally birds. Adult fleas live in the fur or feathers of their hosts, feeding on their blood to survive and reproduce. While fleas do feed off humans, more common host animals include rodents, dogs and cats. The “human” flea, Pulex irritans, actually attacks a broad range of mammal species, and the same is true of most flea species that bite humans. About 2,000 species and subspecies are known worldwide, with at least 127 found in Canada, most of them in British Columbia and Alberta.

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Beaver

The beaver (Castor canadensis) is a herbivorous mammal. It is Canada’s largest rodent and the second-largest rodent in the world (after the capybara). It is primarily nocturnal and lives a semi-aquatic life. The beaver is one of the only mammals, other than humans, that can manufacture its own environment. It is known for building dams, canals and lodges. Its colonies are created by one or more beaver-built dams, which provide still and deep water for protection against predators. An emblem of Canada older than the maple leaf, the beaver has had a greater impact on Canadian history and exploration than any other animal or plant species. (See also Fur Trade in Canada.)

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Dinosaur Eggs

Members of the Central Asiatic Expedition, led by the American Museum of Natural History, first recognized dinosaur eggs in Mongolia in the 1920s. Since then, paleontologists have discovered fossilized remains of dinosaur eggs at over 200 locations worldwide. These locations include sites in Africa, China, Europe, India, Korea, and the Americas. The first dinosaur eggs from North America were discovered in Montana in the late 1970s. In Canada, dinosaur eggshell fragments were initially found in the early 1980s. Complete dinosaur eggs were discovered in 1987 at a site in southern Alberta known as Devil’s Coulee.

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Spirit Bear

Spirit bears are rare white-coated black bears (Ursus americanus kermodei) that live in the coastal temperate rainforests of Northwest British Columbia. Their striking colour is caused by an uncommon recessive genetic trait. Spirit bears are not a unique species or subspecies, but a unique colouration of the coastal British Columbian black bear subspecies kermodei. Referred to as moksgm’ol, meaning “white bear,” by Tsimshian coastal First Nations, spirit bears play an important role in local culture and increasingly in Indigenous-led ecotourism.

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Dinosaurs and Canada

Dinosaurs were a group of animals that dominated the land environments of every continent. They lived from the late Triassic period to the end of the Cretaceous period (225 to 65 million years ago). However, birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs, meaning dinosaurs are still common today. Paleontologists have found more than 100 different species of dinosaurs in Canada. The primary site of these fossils is Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta. Well-known dinosaurs first named from Canadian specimens include Albertosaurus, Centrosaurus, Corythosaurus, Dromaeosaurus,Gorgosaurus, Lambeosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Parasaurolophusand Styracosaurus.

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Endangered Animals in Canada

Many animals in Canada face the risk of extinction. Animals are put at risk for several reasons, including: climate change, the loss of forest and grassland to cities and agriculture, hunting, fishing, and the pollution of lakes and rivers. As of 2021, 554 animal species are at risk in Canada, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. In addition, 18 are extirpated and 18 extinct. The committee’s definition of a wildlife species includes taxonomic categories as well as geographically distinct populations. For example, the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is included in the list of at risk animal species six times, as there are six different populations facing different threats to their survival. (See also Endangered Plants in Canada.)

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Bison

Bison are large, even-toed hoofed mammals of the family Bovidae. Two subspecies of bison exist in North America: the plains bison (Bison bison bison) and the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae). Historically, the plains bison lived primarily in the Great Plains of central North America, while the wood bison lived further north, from Alaska into the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and in the northern portions of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, it’s estimated that plains bison numbered 30 million and wood bison 170,000. Various aspects of European colonization led to the rapid depopulation of North America’s bison. By the late 1800s, plains bison no longer existed in Canada, and wood bison numbered about 200. Conservation efforts in both Canada and the United States mean that today, North America’s plains bison population fluctuates between 350,000 and 400,000, and wood bison between 5,000 and 7,000.

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Extinct Animals in Canada

As of May 2021, 18 animal species once found in Canada are now extinct, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The committee’s definition of a wildlife species includes taxonomic categories as well as geographically distinct populations. For example, the Atlantic salmon appears on COSEWIC’s list of at-risk species 15 times, as there are 15 populations of Atlantic salmon in Canada facing different threats to their survival. Similarly, when one of these populations goes extinct — as was the case for Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario in 1898 — there are specific, cascading effects for the ecosystem that the population belongs to. Communities may lose fishing opportunities and other animals may lose a source of food. Though the Atlantic salmon is an example of a species with populations still observable in the wild, this list of 18 also includes animals that no longer exist anywhere on the planet, such as the sea mink or great auk. The reasons for the extinction of these animals range from overhunting to predation from invasive species to,­ in the case of the Eelgrass limpet, a plight of slime mould.

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Bee

Bees are members of the insect order Hymenoptera (including sawflies, wasps, bees and ants) whose habits of feeding on plant pollen and nectar have made them important pollinators of flowering plants and crops. There are more than 20,000 species worldwide, and nearly 800 can be found in Canada. Bees’ nesting habits range from solitary to highly eusocial. Most bees are solitary, wild species, but some are kept or managed for pollination of crops or to produce honey, including the non-native western honey bee (Apis mellifera). Other familiar bees include bumble bees (genus Bombus), mason bees (genus Osmia) and leafcutter bees (genus Megachile). More than a third of all bee species found in Canada are either mining bees in the genus Andrena, or sweat bees in the genus Lasioglossum.

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Snake

A snake is a long, slender reptile of the suborder Serpentes, order Squamata (which also includes lizards). In Canada, 26 species and one hybrid are native. Most species are found in the southern part of the country.

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Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony

The Lac La Croix Indigenous pony, also known as the Lac La Croix Indian pony or the Ojibwa pony, is thought to be the only existing breed of horse developed by Indigenous people in Canada. It takes its name from Lac La Croix First Nation in northwestern Ontario, where it was last found in the wild. Known in the Ojibwa language as bebezhigooganzhii or mishdatim (meaning “one big toenail”), it is a small, semi-feral horse that once lived in the wild and worked as a service animal — but is also considered a spirit animal — for the Ojibwa people of northwestern Ontario and northern Minnesota. Today, this friendly, all-purpose breed is used in equine therapy, Indigenous heritage programs and tourism. Conservation efforts in Canada and the United States strive to protect the breed, which is critically endangered.

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Jay

Canada is home to three species of jay: the blue jay, Steller’s jay and grey jay.

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Marten

Marten (Martes americana), slender weasel specialized for life in the northern coniferous forests; found from Alaska and BC to Newfoundland and into the US.

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Butterfly

Butterfly, term referring to insects of order Lepidoptera [Gk "scaly wings"]. The Canadian fauna includes 272 known species, compared to 695 known from North America as a whole, and over 20 000 worldwide.

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Caribou

Caribou are members of the deer family. They may be further categorized based on where they live and how they behave. Caribou in Canada are generally categorized into three types: peary, barren-ground and woodland. Taken together, caribou are found in most Canadian provinces and territories, with the exception of the Maritimes.

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Flatfish

Flatfish is the common name for fish belonging to the order Pleuronectiformes. There are 14 families of flatfish and over 800 species worldwide. In Canadian waters there are approximately 39 species of flatfish, from five families. These families are Pleuronectidae, Bothidae, Paralichthyidae, Scophthalmidae and Cynoglossidae. Familiar flatfishes found in Canada include halibut, plaice, flounder and turbot. Among their distinguishing features, flatfish have both eyes on one side of their body.

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Rat

 Rat is a common name for certain mammals of order Rodentia, family Muridae.

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National Parks of Canada

Canada’s national parks are protected areas established under federal legislation to preserve Canada’s natural heritage. They are administered by Parks Canada, a government agency that evolved from the world’s first national parks service, the Dominion Parks Branch, established in 1911. The National Parks System Plan, developed in 1970, divided Canada into 39 natural regions and set the goal of representing each region with at least one national park. Canada now has 48 national parks and national park reserves in 30 of these regions. In total, the parks cover more than 340,000 km2, which is over 3 per cent of Canada’s landmass. They protect important land and marine habitats, geographical features and sites of cultural significance. National parks also benefit local economies and the tourism industry in Canada.

(This is the full-length entry about National Parks of Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see National Parks of Canada (Plain-Language Summary).)

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Moose

Moose are the largest living member of the deer family (Cervidae). Four subspecies are found in Canada: the Alaska/Yukon moose (Alces alces gigas), the shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi), the western Canada moose (Alces alces andersoni) and the eastern Canada moose (Alces alces americana). They live in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island. Often considered a symbol of Canada, the moose is featured on Ontario’s provincial coat of arms.

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Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake is the common name for about 30 species of venomous, viperid snakes in the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, found from southern Canada to South America. Three species of rattlesnake are found in Canada: the Western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganous), the prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridus) and the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). Another species, the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is extirpated, meaning the species no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but lives elsewhere.