What animals live in Canada's boreal forest?


The boreal forest constitutes around 55% of the country’s landmass and in order to maintain the biodiversity and regulate the climate, it is home to a varying range of wild animals, trees, insects, and birds. The focus mainly is on what animals live in Canada’s boreal forest.

Adaptation features of animals in the boreal forest


The boreal forest is just south of the arctic circle and thus experiences extreme summers and winters of up to -90F. These provide the main challenge for the animals living there and as such, they have to have the best features for survival.

  • Most of the animals have thick fur coats which enable them to stay warm and conserve heat during winter.
  • The animals are adapted to eat varying types of foods especially during winter where food is usually scarce..
  • The animals hibernate during by eating as much food as they can which enables them to create fat reserves that will be utilized during winter..
  • The animals in the boreal forest are larger than their normal size found in other forests to help them in better heat conservation..
  • They have very thin legs to enable them to move easily through the snow..
  • Some birds migrate during winter while the ones that remain behind build their nests in marshes and bogs..
  • Some of the rare animal species found in Canada’s Boreal forest include:

    Wood frog


    This type of frog has the rare ability to freeze up to two-thirds of its body during winter. During this period, its glucose levels are very high to keep water inside the cells. This frog is technically dead during winter as it cannot move at all. Once spring comes, it thaws and converts the glucose quickly into glycogen and pees out what is remaining. It can survive up to 7 months when frozen.

    The red fox


    Its overall color is a rusty red which is darker on the back and the tail. The tip of its tail, the inside of its ears and its abdomen are white. Their diet varies greatly as they only eat what is available at the moment ranging from rodents to carcasses.

    The deer family




    It is the largest member of the deer family. The moose has very long stilt-like legs with largely divided hooves. Most of them have dark-brown to black hair and the male moose grow antlers up to 150 cm during winter and loses them during summers.

    They are found near water bodies as they are very good swimmers. They are also characterized by poor eyesight but have a very good sense of hearing and smell.

    Caribou: It is the only member of the deer family where both the male and female have antlers. It is chocolate-brown in color and bit white on the neck. It is considered an endangered species as their numbers are greatly declining.

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    They have very distinctive features such as living in packs and having a clear hierarchy with the alpha-pair being in charge. They communicate using howls to help find lost members of the pack or warn them about any form of danger.

    Examples of wolfs in the boreal forest include the:

    Grey wolf


    Also known as the timber wolf. Most of them are grey-black in color.

    It mostly hunts after large prey like the deer and the caribou. It has two layers of fur coats to protect it from the cold. The male wolf is taller than the female.



    It has an overall grey-brownish red color. It is smaller than the gray wolf and is never alone. They are opportunistic feeders as they can vary their food from hares and frogs to berries. Their population is very high in the boreal forest.

    The cat family


    Mountain lion (Cougar/Puma)


    It is the most powerful wild cat in Canada. The males are over 60kgs.Their coating is brown gray and the chest and belly areas are white in color.

    Its tail is long with a black tip. It also has black marks on the nozzle and the ears. It mostly feeds on the moose and white-tailed deer but can feed on other smaller animals too such as the hair.



    Its colors range from bluish gray to yellow and brown underparts. Its tail is shot with a black tip. It has pointed ears with long black tufts. Its feet are large with dense hairs.



    It has a varying range of colors included a spotted coat. It has tuft fewer ears and a short bobbed tail with a white underside that is tipped. Its legs and feet are smaller than those of a lynx.

    These two mostly feed on snow shore hairs and other small rodents.

    The black bear


    It is dominantly black in color with a varying range of its coat color. The black bear is an omnivore that feeds on vegetable mostly and a few insects and birds.

    It has learned to associate human beings with food and can eat garbage drops and livestock.



    It has a black facial mask. Its color varies from black to light brown with a ringed tail. The raccoon is omnivorous and so varies its diet. It is also a known carrier of rabies.

    The northern river otter


    They have thick furs to protect them when they swim in cold waters. They have short legs with webbed feet and a streamlined body for faster swimming. It is mostly found on the wooded shoreline of lakes and ponds and it feeds majorly on fish.

    The snowshoe hare


    In winter it has a white color and in summer it has varying degrees of brown. It is very fast and can go up to 45 kilometers per hour. It feeds mainly on vegetables and is a common meal to many predators.

    The porcupine


    It has long strands of brown hair but with many large quills tucked inside. It has small feet that are sharp with round close to enable them to climb trees. It is an herbivore as its diet is mainly leaves and forest herbs. Its largest predator is the fisher because it can avoid the quills by carrying the porcupine on its back.

    The list above serves to show only a few of the diverse species of animals found in the Boreal forest in Canada.