05/08/2015 07:01 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 09:59 EDT

15 Canadian Animals That Should NOT Be F&%$ed With

Don't let their looks fool you.

Canada's wild is vast, and full of animals who can survive in some pretty extreme conditions.

They thrive despite frigid winters and tough terrain, and know how to bring down the world's biggest animals in packs. And give no f&$%s about it.


With the help of the Canadian Wildlife Federation — creators of the popular Hinterland Who's Who videos — we've compiled a list of some of Canada's most fearsome predators.

Here are 15 Canadian animals that should not be f&%$ed with:


Forget those happy images of orcas leaping out of B.C.'s coastal waters: there's a reason we call them "killer whales."

They track their prey using "echo-location," clicking sounds that bounce off other fish in the water. But they also eat land-based creatures such as moose, deer and pigs.

Forget that blue whales are the world's biggest creature — orcas will hunt in packs to take them down.

F&%$s given = zero.

Range: All of Canada's oceans; Hudson Bay; the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Little Brown Bat

Batman merely adopted the dark; the little brown bat lives in it.

Like the orca, this predator uses echo-location to hunt its prey. Like a vampire, it is nocturnal, eating about half its weight each night in creatures such as flies, moths and beetles, from dusk until dawn.

Range: All provinces and territories except for Nunavut.


Cute. Furry. Fierce. And one of the world's most aggressive animals.

There are no documented attacks on humans ... and maybe that's because they save energy for their prey. They can take down large victims such as caribou and moose. Their jaws are strong enough to crush bone and cut down to the marrow. They're defensive of their kills and will fight off bears to keep it.

And there's no rest for the fierce: while hunting they can travel over 40 kilometres in a single day.

But they're also vulnerable. Over a third of their range in North America has disappeared, and they've vanished from areas that have seen heavy human activity. Wolverines found west of Hudson Bay are considered to be of "special concern," while animals still found in Quebec and Labrador have been called "endangered," according to the CWF.

Range: Wolverines are known to inhabit the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia and parts of Alberta.


The cougar doesn't discriminate among its prey.

The second biggest feline in the Americas is known for eating deer, elk and bighorn sheep, but they've also been known to munch on birds, beavers, rabbits, squirrels and even coyotes.

It suffocates its prey by biting their throats and smashing their windpipes; it breaks the necks of smaller victims. It even cover up the leftovers with debris to ensure scavengers don't come along and steal it.

Range: The Yukon border, British Columbia, Alberta.

Canada Lynx

Unlike the cougar, the lynxes is particular in its taste.

Over 75 per cent of its diet is snowshoe hare in the winter, and it will devour an entire rabbit in a single meal. It will still eat hares in summer, but also mice, squirrels, foxes and grouse. The lynx stalks its prey from close by, waiting where it knows the rabbits are hopping by.

But when it comes to survival, the lynx bows down to the bobcat, which tend to edge it out of its habitat.

Range: North America's boreal forest, anywhere the showshoe hare is.

Great Horned Owl

One of Canada's most common large birds of prey.

The Great Horned Owl hunts in stealth mode, thanks to soft feathers that make little noise when it flies. It consumes small prey whole and coughs up body parts it can't digest.

It's also been known snap up more than it can handle. Owls have emerged from hunts smelling of skunk or pricked with porcupine needles. Like orcas, they give no f$%&s.

Range: Almost all North American forested regions.

Snowy Owl

Snowy owls don't exactly pick on animals their own size.

They hunt small mammals such as lemmings, hares or foxes by flying from a perch before swooping down and grabbing their food with claws measuring anywhere from 25 to 35 mm.

Their hearing is aided by stiff feathers around their eyes that can send sound waves to their ears. The sense is strong enough that they can hear rodents beneath the snow while flying.

Range: Their breeding range is Canada's Arctic tundra, from the Arctic Archipelago, to Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island, Bnaks Island, and the northern coast from Labrador to the Yukon.

White Shark

Great white sharks are the second biggest fish that have been recorded in Atlantic Canada's waters.

They're known to grow up to 6.6 metres long, though there are accounts of one in Australia that was as big as eight metres.

White sharks attack their prey from below, feasting on animals such as salmon and halibut, though they also have a taste for seals and porpoises.

National Geographic has noted that the sharks have little interest in humans, preferring them only as much as we do lima beans. But they're curious creatures who love to taste things that interest them, including boats ... and, sometimes, people.

Range: Atlantic Canada's waters.

Greenland Shark

The Greenland shark, the largest fish in the Arctic, is an equal-opportunity predator.

It eats almost anything, such as fish, eels, seals, squid and other sharks. But land-based prey aren't safe either; there are reports of Greenland sharks feasting on caribou and reindeer standing close to cracks in ice.

Even polar bears have fallen victim to their appetites; remains of the ursine creatures have been discovered in a shark's stomach.

A Greenland shark became national news in 2013 when it was found choking on a moose hide on a Newfoundland beach. Two men managed to pull the hide from its mouth and help the shark back into the water.

Range: Baffin Island, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Scotian Shelf.

Polar Bear

Polar bears are beautiful creatures that are adorable when they're young.

But when it comes to eating, they're ruthless. Polar bears hunt for newborn seals by breaking into their birth lairs, killing them, eating their fat and skin and leaving the rest for scavengers to pick up later.

They also wait for seals to come up for air in sea ice. Once there, they whip them out of the water and kill the mammals with one strike.

Climate change, however, is proving ruthless to polar bears. Sea ice cover has been falling in the Arctic, and freeze-up and breakup patterns are changing in areas like Hudson Bay.

Range: Arctic polar basin pack ice, northern Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Peregrine Falcon

Speed is key to the Peregrine falcon's hunting habits.

It dives for meals at a speed of more than 300 km/h, killing medium- and large-sized prey by striking them with a half-closed foot.

When a target is too heavy, a Peregrine will drop it to the ground and then feed later. It will also kill sandpipers and swallows in flight.

Range: Coastal British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, northern Quebec.


Keen observation.

That's the secret to the osprey's hunting abilities. It will fly over a body of water, watching carefully for fish swimming slowly near the surface. Once it spots a fish, it will fly at an altitude of 10 to 30 metres and patiently stand by as it moves into an ideal position.

The osprey then dives, wings partially closed, right under the surface, creating a sizable splash before emerging with its lunch in its talons. It doesn't even become too soaked in the process.

Its natural bully is the bald eagle, which will sometimes pester a flying osprey until it releases its food from its claws. Jerks.

Range: All over Canada, but they're known to nest in Ontario, Quebec and on the East Coast.

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Ontario's sole venomous snake.

The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake senses its prey (usually small mammals) thanks in part to heat-sensitive pits that lie between its nostrils and eyes, says Ontario Nature. It's a docile snake that many can walk by without taking notice of, but when threatened, it will bite as a last resort.

While a menace to small animals, the Eastern Massasauga is facing perils all its own. Both the federal Species at Risk Act and the Ontario Endangered Species Act list it as threatened, and the latter also gives it special protection under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Range: Ontario's Great Lakes region.

Giant Pacific Octopus

This intelligent cephalopod can learn to open jars and solve mazes, according to National Geographic.

It would also make one heck of a mercenary. The chief advantage of a giant Pacific octopus while hunting is its ability to change texture and colour, thanks to skin pigments that help it hide among rocks, corals and plants.

The octopus mostly eats shrimp, lobsters, fish and clams, but it has also gone after birds and sharks. See above what happens when an octopus disguises itself, and a shark is none the wiser.

Range: Coastal British Columbia.

Leatherback Seaturtle

You know that moment when you realize you're totally screwed? That must be how a jellyfish feels the moment it find itself down the throat of a leatherback seaturtle.

This reptile's esophageal tract induces nightmares the way horror movies do. It is lined with sharp spines that stop jellyfish, its prime prey, from escaping. Those spines also tear jellyfish apart as they're digested.

But like a number of predators on this list, the seaturtle is an endangered species, having declined by over 60 per cent since 1982. In Canada, they're protected under the Fisheries Act, which prohibits people from capturing or killing them without a permit.

One of the reasons for its status is that many leatherback babies don't survive due to other predators eating them — they move slowly on land and can't easily defend themselves — as well as humans consuming their eggs.

But if you're a jellyfish, yeesh, watch out!

Range: Coastal British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island. Sightings have been recorded off Baffin Island and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence close to Quebec City.

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