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Weasel

The weasel is a small, long-bodied, carnivorous mammal of the family Mustelidae. Three species of weasels are found in Canada: the short-tailed weasel, also known as the ermine or stoat (Mustela erminea), the long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata), and the least weasel (Mustela nivalis). The least weasel is the smallest species in the order carnivora. The genus Mustela also includes mink, black-footed ferret, and the introduced European ferret.

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Midge

Midges are small, slender-bodied flies with long antennae, belonging to various families. Three families are especially important: non-biting midges (Chironomidae), biting midges (Ceratopogonidae, also called no-see-ums), and gall midges (Cecidomyiidae). In Canada, there are more than 1,300 named species of midges from these groups, and scientists expect at least as many more live here. The larvae of most non-biting and biting midges are aquatic, while most larval gall midges live and feed inside of growths on plant tissues. Midges are found all across Canada and in a variety of habitats.

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Wild Turkeys in Canada

The wild turkey (Meleaagris gallopavo) is a species of bird native to North America. There are six subspecies of M. gallopavo, two of which have populations in Canada: the Eastern wild turkey, M. gallopavo silvestris and Merriam’s wild turkey, M. gallopavo merriami. The Eastern wild turkey is native to southern Ontario and Quebec, while Merriam’s wild turkey was introduced to Manitoba in 1958 and to Alberta in 1962. In the 1960s, Merriam’s wild turkey naturally expanded their range from the northwestern United States into southern British Columbia. Today, Merriam’s wild turkey can also be found in Saskatchewan.

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Zoos

Zoos, also known as zoological gardens, are facilities exhibiting wild and domesticated animals for purposes of education, recreation, conservation and research. Zoos range from conventional, dense-occupancy facilities to open animal parks and game farms. They can incorporate aquariums exhibiting fish and other aquatic life forms. There are 28 accredited zoos in Canada, according to the Canadian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums. Canada’s largest zoo is the Toronto Zoo.

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Mammoth

Mammuthus is an extinct genus of proboscideans closely related to living elephants. Two species of mammoth lived in Canada: the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) and the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius). The earliest record of Mammuthus is from the Pliocene epoch (5.3–2.6 million years ago). Most mammoth populations were extinct by the end of the Pleistocene epoch (about 10,000 years ago). In Canada, mammoth fossils have been found in Yukon, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Later records of mammoths in Alberta overlap in time with archaeological records of Indigenous people. However, while there is evidence that people hunted mammoths elsewhere in North America, to date no similar evidence has been found in Canada.

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Wood Frog

The wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) is medium-sized, forest-dwelling frog native to North America. It is found in every province and territory in Canada. With populations north of the Arctic Circle, the wood frog’s range extends farther north than any other North American amphibian.

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Lizard Species in Canada

Lizards are reptiles that belong to several suborders within the order Squamata (which also includes snakes). They are the most diverse group of living reptiles and are found on all continents except Antarctica. There are six species of lizard currently found in Canada. In addition, one species, the pygmy short-horned lizard, is extirpated. This means that, while it continues to live in other parts of its range, it is no longer found in Canada. Five of the six lizard species in Canada are native, while the sixth, the common wall lizard, is introduced from Europe.

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Snake Species in Canada

A snake is a long, slender reptile of the suborder Serpentes, within the order Squamata (which also includes lizards). There are 25 species of snake currently found in Canada. In addition, one species, the timber rattlesnake, and one subspecies, the Pacific gophersnake, are extirpated. This means that, while they continue to live in other parts of their range, they are no longer found in Canada. Snake species in Canada belong to one of three taxonomic families: Boidae, Viperidae or Colubridae. Most species live in the southern part of the country; however, the common gartersnake can be found as far north as the 60th parallel, near Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.

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Albertonectes

Albertonectes (pronounced al-BER-toe-NEK-teez) is a genus of plesiosaur in the family Elasmosauridae. Plesiosaurs were not the same as dinosaurs, though they are sometimes mistakenly placed in the same category. Dinosaurs lived on land, while plesiosaurs were air-breathing reptiles that flourished in the world’s oceans during the same era. Specifically, Albertonectes lived during the Late Cretaceous period (100.5 million–66 million years ago). To date, Albertonectes fossils have only been found in Alberta, south of Lethbridge. Albertonectes had 76 neck bones, the most of any animal.

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Cryodrakon

Cryodrakon (pronounced CRY-oh-DRAH-kon) is a genus of giant pterosaur in the family Azhdarchidae. It lived toward the end of the Cretaceous period (76.5 million–74.8 million years ago) in southern Alberta. With a wingspan of at least 10 m — the equivalent of a small airplane — Cryodrakon was one of the largest flying animals ever known. It is also one of the first giant pterosaurs to have ever lived and the only pterosaur discovered in Canada.

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Eastern Red-Backed Salamander

The Eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) is a small woodland salamander that is native to Eastern North America. In Canada, this species is found from Prince Edward Island to Northwestern Ontario. A similar species, the Western red-backed salamander, is found in southwestern British Columbia. Eastern red-backed salamanders are abundant in most forests within their range. However, they often go unseen because they spend most of their time underground, under the leaf litter or objects such as logs, stumps and rocks.

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Toad Species in Canada

Toad is a common name for frogs belonging to the family Bufonidae. The distinction is not firm, but the word toad is generally applied to frogs with relatively short legs and thick bodies, dry, often “warty” skin and reduced webbing between the toes. Five toad species are found in Canada, living in drier habitats than most other frogs. In Canada, other frogs commonly called toads are the Plains and Great Basin spadefoots (family Scaphiopodidae). For more general information about frogs (including toads) see Frog Species in Canada.

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Frog Species in Canada

Frogs are amphibians belonging to the order Anura. Worldwide, frogs are the most numerous group of amphibians, with more than 5,000 living species. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. There are 24 species of frog currently found in Canada. In addition, one species, the Blanchard’s cricket frog, is extirpated. This means that, while it continues to live in other parts of its range, it is no longer found in Canada. Five of Canada’s frog species are toads, which are frogs belonging to the family Bufonidae. While most frog species in Canada are found in the southern reaches of the country, a few, for example the boreal chorus frog, have ranges extending into Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and in the case of the wood frog, Nunavut.

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Salamander

Salamander is a common name for most members of the tailed amphibia (order Caudata). There are about 410 species worldwide; 21 are native to Canada. Salamanders are found mainly in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and tropical South and Central America. In the latter, salamanders have radiated and the region contains more than a third of the species in the world. In Canada, salamanders are found from the Maritimes to British Columbia and north to central Labrador and northern British Columbia; none have been recorded on the island of Newfoundland.

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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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Animals that Served in the First World War

During the First World War, military personnel from all combatant countries used millions of animals for work and as pets. This includes Canadians who served overseas as members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force (CSEF), as well as Canadian service personnel based in Canada. Horses, mules, dogs and birds were the most common animals employed, although there were several others, including reindeer and glow-worms.

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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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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.