Everything in this vast, open country comes in size XL – including meals, cars, parks and even wildlife. Although the beaver is the country’s national animal, this buck-toothed tree-chewer is capable of clearing a small forest in just one night, which probably earned the furry critter its grand title.
One of the most unique animals in Canada is the gangly moose, with its knobbly knees and ungainly stance. These massive beasts are the size of a horse, are capable of running 56km/h and their heavy rack of antlers can be a hazard if the beast is caught off guard. They are not to be confused with elk, which are smaller and have a branch like shape of antler.
And then there’s deer, which are to Canada what kangaroos are to Australia. The quickly bounding creatures are everywhere and can even be a pest in urban areas, where they have been known to make a meal of people’s gardens and shrubbery.
Other wildlife you may encounter in Canada include porcupines, rattlesnakes in the desert of BC, orca whales off the coastline and coyotes in the forest. Cougars are a rare danger in some areas, as are wolves, but the closest you will probably ever come to these wild canines is hearing their cries in the pitch of night.
Sitting at the top of the food chain is the bear. There are three types of bears in Canada, with the least dangerous being the black bear.These are very timid and tend to run away before you even get near.
It’s the grizzly bears and polar bears you have to look out for. These toothy predators can sprint the length of a football field in six seconds. Attacks are rare, however.
Canadians live with these animals every day, just as Australians cohabitate with venomous snakes — you could count the number of fatal bear attacks from the past decade on one hand. Saying that, there are a few precautions to take if you do go out in the wild.
When camping in remote areas, take care by not leaving food in your tent. When hiking, stick to paths that have clear visibility and don’t hike at night (when they feed). If you are in an area with polar bears, only travel in groups of at least four, use noisemakers and carry pepper spray.