Quebec, really is a unique place that hosts more than french speaking Canadians, it has incredible scenery, fauna & flora. It’s the biggest province in Canada and fosters a variety of animals with around 650 vertebrae species spread out across all animal groups, be it mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and turtles.
When you love nature and you’re in Quebec, there is always beauty around you. It’s truly magical to be immersed in the habitats of wild animals and witness their activities. Certain animals can certainly be harder to spot than others, however many are frequently seen.
1. Red Fox
The red fox is the largest of the foxes and the most common. With a short tail, long muzzle, spiked ears, and brown-red fur. The english language has been inspired by the fox over the years, using words like “foxy” to mean attractiveness, sexiness or being red-haired. The term “outfox” also means to ‘beat in competition of wits’ or ‘outguess’ our ‘outsmart’. The fox is often a solitary animal but can live in couples or even form social groups called “a skulk”. It is most probable to spot a red fox at night since they prefer nocturnal life and roaming in tranquility.
Not only does the woodpecker rock a nifty fohawk, it’s little beak manages to ‘peck’ wood so fiercely that you can hear the sound from miles away. The little bird pecks the wood to find it’s dinner, notably insects within the wood. It is sometimes harder to spot than to hear it, because it’s so mini. Quebec loves them so much, a popular french band called Beau Dommage, even dedicated a whole song to the bird.
Canada’s national animal is the cute and furry beaver. To this day, the beaver is featured on the 5 cent coin known as the “buck”. It is quite common to see the creations of beavers in lakes and rivers across Quebec, called a beaver dam. Beavers are hefty builders, cutting trees with their own teeth and lugging the wood to build these dam homes where they hide from predators, and store food. They certainly have Olympic swimmer bodies and not only are they on our money, they have also inspired the shape of the famous Canadian desert « beaver tail ». Spoiler alert (it’s not really a beaver’s tail, it’s a delicious sweet)
The most common fur color for a skunk is black and white, although some skunks are brown or grey and a few cream-coloured. All of them however, are striped. But other than their stripes, they are notorious for their anal scent glands, which they use as a defensive weapon. They have glands on the anus that produce the skunks spray, and can you ever smell it! The smell can be detected by a human nose up to 5.6 km away. The spray can also cause irritation and temporary blindness. Moral of the story - don’t let this cute innocent looking creature get too close!
The loon is another coin celebrity, found on the 1 dollar coin that Canadians refer to as the “loonie”. Loons like to hang out on lakes and can dive underwater for up to 20 minutes while travelling distances or looking for food. Their unique and beautiful feathering is easily spotted from far, and up close you can notice those fierce red eyes.
Porcupines actually have soft hair but also an impressive set of around 30,000 sharp ‘quills’. These quills lie flat until the porcupine feels threatened, and then it leaps upward to look scary to the attacker. Unlike what people have thought in the past, porcupines cannot ‘shoot’ their quills. It’s only if you get close to the porcupine, will it loosen its quills and slap you with its tail. This has been a problem for curious dogs who want to befriend the porcupine and end up getting quills all over the face that need to get surgically removed with lots of anaesthetics. The porcupine is a rodent like the beaver and thanks to their long claws, they are excellent tree climbers. They will always try to run away before getting defensive.
Have you seen or met any of these animals in Quebec or elsewhere? Which animals should we add to the list?
An avid nature lover, animal-snuggler and outdoor activity enthusiast. Sara spent her childhood summers swimming, canoeing, hiking, and enjoying the breahtaking landscape of Quebec at her family cottage. With a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Ottawa, Sara is a frequent contributor to Waterfront Cottage Life, where she fuses her passion for Marketing and the Canadian landscape.
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