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Wildlife we have spotted during our travels in Canada

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Mountain Goat
Mountain Goats are all over the roads, always round a corner eating grass from the kerbs. This one we saw on the Bow River Road.
paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Hoary Marmot
Hoary Marmots are like Gophers but bigger with thick hair, this one was at Johnston Canyon pictured on a weekend away.
paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Chipmonks
Cheeky chipmonks squeeking at you from their tree tops, roughly translated as 'Get off my Land'.
paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Badger
Prairie Badger, very different from its UK cousin and a lot bigger. We saw this one chasing and catching a Gopher for its supper.
 
paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Falcon
Alberta Prairie Falcons sit on fence posts running along the roads, hunting for small prey.
Prairie_Falcon.jpg (22877 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Black Bears
As Elli came round the corner of the Mountain Lodge, a Black Bear stood meters away and was as shocked (and scared) as Elli. Chloe let out a pathetic gruff, the bear then turned and ran away with its layers of Summer Fat bouncing under its skin. Cute but too close.

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Coyote
Lots of Coyote surround the village in the winter looking for food. Never coming close in the day but in the evening they howl to gather the pack so they can hunt large pray. 
coyote.jpg (25815 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Squirrels
Lots of the Golden Mounted Ground Squirrels live in the Rockies, many in Johnston Canyon but our best encounter was Kirsty hand feeding one at the Hot Springs Spa in Banff.



We have seen Black Squirrels in Canmore and Red Squirrels in the Hills
golden_mounted_ground_quirrel.JPG (91204 bytes)



 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Gophers
Hundreds of Gophers live in the village, sleeping underground from Aug to Apr, the amusing little animals keep Chloe and Molly alert all day. Actually called the Columbian Ground Squirrel.
gopher2.jpg (177452 bytes)

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Grizzly Bears
Saw our first Grizzly while driving from Banff to Jasper. Saw our second on our Vancouver Trip when it had just woke up from hibernation and was playing in the snow ! Then Saw this one in Lake Louise in the Spring of 2012.

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Pronghorn Antelope
Pronghorn Antelope roam the Prairie by the hundreds, but never come into the village. 
pronghorn_Antelope.JPG (23879 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Red Fox
Saw a red fox while driving in Canmore, running across the road into the woods.
red_fox.JPG (84117 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Snowy Owl
A Snowy Owl lives in the village, feeding on the Gophers and Rabbits, it has grown to an enormous size.
SnowyOwl.jpg (22733 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Block Mustangs
Until 1994 wild horses had open reign on the Suffield military base training area extending from Ralston to Buffalo, some 2690 sq kms. Mustangs moving freely across one of the largest parcels of native prairie in the world. Over 1200 head, divided by their stallions into small herds, survived on the rich grasses that once supported cattle until the military annexed the rangelands from Farmers in 1941. The success of the Suffield Mustangs in their hardy survival at an altitude of almost 2600ft where they reproduced freely on the open range proved to be their downfall.

The horses were primarily made up of Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Morgan and Arabian stock; recognised as an exceptional breed and when in the early 1990s the military decided the horses were damaging the prairie grasses on the training block, the population needed to be controlled. After a great amount of discussion and controversy on the issue, it was decided in 1994 to round them up and disperse them to anyone willing to take one.

This could have been the end of the Suffield Mustangs were it not for a few forward-thinking horsemen who recognised the historical significance and the genetic quality of these horses. These horses are a historically unique part of Western Canadian heritage and could never be reproduced.

Suffield Block horses now exist all over the world as a breed known for strength, agility and a Canadian heritage.
suffield_block_mustangs.jpg (54782 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Voles
Living amongst their Gopher pals, a few Voles live underground around the village.
VolePine01.jpg (69327 bytes)

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  The Famous Canmore Rabbit
In the mid 1980's a Canmore resident released about a dozen of their domestic rabbits into South Canmore and rather than becoming coyote snacks they survived, thrived and today are the most famous residents that Canmore has.
The bunnies have made South Canmore their home, and while they don't throw wild parties, bark or even whimper, the sight of them casually munching away throughout the day seems to generate more than a little controversy.
The bunny population has also been reportedly taking a road trip, with appearances in the Exshaw community a few kilometres east of Canmore.
So prolific are they that the valley's foxes, coyotes, cougars and raptors have failed to suppress their numbers. There is no official count, but some estimate that as many as 2,000 roam the town.
canmore_rabbit.JPG (52363 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Ralston Mule Deer

Since the winter really took hold, several herds of Mule Deer have moved into the Village. One male for every half dozen females, they sleep in gardens by night and wander Ralston by day. The environmentalists have told us not to feed the deer, but EVERYONE does. You can see the young deer that were born last spring and powerful majestic Stags, sporting outstanding sets of horns. Another has the cutest young doe that takes food from your hand, amazing.

That said, you do need to treat them with respect, one dog was kicked by a deer and sadly died. It's great to see them around the village, amazing animals .... cant wait till hunting season, bet they taste really nice.

mule_deer_doe.JPG (307975 bytes)

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Rabbits

Hundreds of Rabbits now live in the Village. They always seem to be around the legs of grazing deer and they have no fear whatsoever of the human community around them. Possibly because they are being fed by EVERYONE. As you walk down the street, they sit there without motion. One morning on the way to work, one followed me to my garage. Every day, Chloe sits by the lounge window watching them eat carrots .... she can't wait till hunting season either.

rabbit.JPG (94876 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Fat Grouse

A couple of overweight Sharp Tailed Grouse amazingly summoned enough energy to fly up to a tree branch. Lots of grouse around the village at the moment pecking away at the ground where the Deer have been sleeping.

sharp_tailed_grouse.JPG (50524 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  A bird in the hand .......

While in Kicking Horse County in the mountains of British Columbia, we stopped for some lunch after a morning of Ski-dooing, the birds (apparently called Brown-Creepers) swooped down and ate cheese from your hand. Brilliant.

brown_creeper.jpg (277873 bytes)

 

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Porcupine

Chloe got into a right state when she ended up with barbed Porcupine spines not only in her mouth but also ingested, she came very close to a fatal end.

porcupine.jpg (46964 bytes)

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Elk

Elk in the Rockies roam free on the roads and in town. Take care in September when rutting season starts, the males get so aggressive, they ram cars.

elk.jpg (160408 bytes)

paw.gif (1315 bytes)  Tiger Salamander

The Tiger Salamander is an unlikely creature to survive the extremes of the prairies...or is it. They absorb O2 through their skin, re-generate complex tissues and only take 2 weeks to grow a limb, often drop their tail off which still wiggles as a defence mechanism, they can smell in proportion to 20kms. The life of the Salamander is similar to that of other amphibians such as Frogs, but in the prairies, life starts off after a defrost from unimaginable temperatures as spawn, then tadpole, before full metamorphosis reveals the fully grown adult. Subterranean living protects the creature from the baking summer, before autumn showers allow the reproductive cycle to quickly take place before a new frost sets in.