WILDLIFE INDEX
Animal Damage Control deals with all wildlife species and issues throughout Alberta and Western Canada. The most commonly encountered problem species are listed below; click on them to learn more.
  • Badger
    Credit: US FWS.
    Scientific Name
    Taxidea taxus
    Status
    Common, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    5-40kg, 70-90cm
     
    Badgers are nocturnal predators of smaller burrowing rodents. Their burrows may cause damage to crop and pasture lands, presenting terrain hazards to livestock and horse riders.
    Badgers predate on some small livestock, poultry and domestic pets, and may behave aggressively when threatened or cornered.
  • Bats
    Little brown bats. Credit: US FWS.
    Scientific Name
    Various
    Status
    Common, Unregulated
    Weight/Size
    Various, small
     
    Bat are small winged mammals active primarily at night, roosting in natural and man-made shelter during the day. In Alberta, one of the most common bat species is the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus, pictured); maternity colonies of this species may number from 100 to 1000 members.
    When bats roost indoors, especially over winter, bat fesces and urine, also called guano, can accumulate rapidly at the base of their roosting sites, damaging ceilings, drywall and wood. When left untreated, they can give the building an unpleasant smell, and the guano bed becomes a festering site for mold, fungi, parasites and diseases.
    Bats are known carriers of rabies. Breathing air tainted by guano can also cause a potentially fatal lung infection known as histoplasmosis. The public is strongly advised to avoid handling bats, or entering attics or crawl spaces where bats have been roosting. Contact us to handle the issue if you suspect a bat roosting problem.
  • Bobcat
    Bobcat. Credit: Getty Images, under license.
    Scientific Name
    Lynx rufus
    Status
    Sporadic, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    6-18kg, 10-100cm
     
    The bobcat is easily distinguishable by it’s pointed ears and short bobbed tail, but often confused for lynx. It prefers forested areas close to agriculture.
    While lynx primarily hunt snowshoe hare and small rodents, the bobcat is a more opportunistic predator and may target livestock, poultry and domestic pets.
    Bobcats are of minimal threat to human safety.
  • Cougar
    Cougar. Credit: US FWS.
    Scientific Name
    Puma concolor
    Status
    Uncommon, Game
    Weight/Size
    50-100kg, 150-250cm
     
    Also known as a mountain lion, the cougar is the largest cat species native to North America. It is a carnivore that primarily preys on deer but will also hunt animals ranging in size from mice to moose.
    Cougars are primarily nocturnal animals, shy and elusive, which leads people to believe they are rare even if they are resident.
    In rural areas where cougar range overlaps with humans, they are a threat to livestock, domestic pets and human safety.
  • Red Fox
    Red Fox. Credit: US FWS.
    Scientific Name
    Vulpes vulpes
    Status
    Common, Game, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    4-7kg, 80-110cm
     
    Foxes are small predators/scavengers comfortable denning in close proximity to humans.
    They may hunt small livestock and property as well as outdoor domestic cats and rabbits in urban areas.
    Foxes may carry diseases and parasites including rabies.
  • Ground Rodents
    Northern pocket Gopher. Credit: Gretty Images, under license.
    Scientific Name
    Various
    Status
    Common, Nuisance
    Weight/Size
    Various
     
    Groundhogs (Marmota monax), also known as woodchucks, tend to live in open farmland and pastures. They are herbivores that live on a strict diet of grass, vegetables and legumes, and may damage crops and gardens. They also may gnaw underground power and water lines and their burrowing causes ground instability and may weaken foundations.
    Gophers (Thomomys talpoides) cause damage to plants in agricultural areas, residential gardens and municipal parks, damage to integrity of surface and sub-surface structure restricting ability to till soil.
    Ground squirrels (Spermophilus richardson) occasionally cause damage to crops, gardens and park land. Extensive burrowing causes ground destabilization and damage to foundations and irrigation systems. Ground squirrels may carry disease.
    Common species of mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) cause minor structural damage and may also raid and contaminate crops and food stores, as well as carry transmittable diseases.
    Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), also known as Norway rats, are not found in Alberta. They is strictly prohibited and exterminated on sight under provincial law. Rats damage structures, piping and wiring, raid and contamination grain and food stores, and spread disease. Any suspicion of the presence of a rat, dead or alive, should be reported immediately to Alberta Rat Control at 310-7287.
  • Mink
    American mink. Credit: Brendan Lally.
    Scientific Name
    Mustela vison
    Status
    Semi-common, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    0.7-1.4kg, 45-60 cm
     
    Mink are small, sleek and fast moving semi-aquatic predators living along streams, ponds and lakes. They are strictly carnivorous and aggressive when cornered or threatened.
    Mink may predate on poultry and exotic birds as well as fish in ponds and hatcheries. They are known for "surplus killing" - killing more than is needed for a meal.
  • Muskrat
    Muskrat. Credit: Gordon Robertson.
    Scientific Name
    Ondatra zibethicus
    Status
    Common, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    0.5-1.5kg, 40-60cm
     
    Muskrat are small semi-aqautic rodents, smaller than beavers, found extensively throughout Canada in streams, ponds, lakes and other water bodies.
    They are herbivores and feed on aquatic vegetation and crops, sometimes to the extent of severe damage. Their den burrowing can cause damage to bank integrity and infrastructure.
  • Rabbits/Hares
    Credit: Tobias Tan.
    Scientific Name
    Various
    Status
    Common / Unregulated
    Weight/Size
    1-5kg, 35-55cm
     
    Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus nuttallii) live in brushy fence rows or field edges, gullies filled with debris, brush piles, or landscaped backyards where food and cover are suitable, while jackrabbits (Lepus townsendii) are found in open grassy areas. Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) prefer brushy swamps and lowlands.
    Rabbits and hares cause damage to residential gardens, agricultural/ornamental shrubs, and landscaping. They may also lure predators into closer contact with humans and pets.
  • Raccoon
    Raccoon. Credit: Carsten Volkwein.
    Scientific Name
    Procyon lotor
    Status
    Sporadic, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    4.5-13.5kg, 60-90cm
     
    Raccoons are less common in Alberta than the cities of other provinces. They are nocturnal omnivores that tend to live in hardwood forests, close to water bodies. They may den in hollow trees, ground burrows, brush piles, muskrat houses, barns and abandoned buildings.
    Raccoons may predate on poultry and cause crop and sod damage when foraging. Their denning activity may also damage residential and industrial structures. They are potential carrier of rabies.
  • River Otters
    River otter. Credit: US FWS.
    Scientific Name
    Lutra canadensis
    Status
    Sporadic, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    10-15kg, 100-140cm
     
    River otters are semi-aquatic predators feeding on aquatic life, fish, shellfish. They can cause extensive damage to fish populations in ponds and hatcheries, and are aggressive when cornered or threatened.
  • Porcupine
    Porcupine live-trapped. Credit: ADC.
    Scientific Name
    Erethizon dorsatum
    Status
    Common, Unregulated
    Weight/Size
    5-15kg, 65-80cm
     
    Porcupines forage on the bark, twigs and leaves of deciduous and coniferous trees.
    Trees that have been heavily girdled by porcupines may die, while survives will have their sapwood exposed to attach by insects, fungi and disease. As such, they are threats to residential and municipal tree stocks.
    Their quills may also pose a threat to inquisitive domestic pets and livestock.
  • Skunk
    Skunk. Credit: Tobias Tan
    Scientific Name
    Mephitis mephitis
    Status
    Common, Nuisance
    Weight/Size
    1-4kg, 50-80cm
     
    Skunks are nocturnal omnivorous foragers notorious for their spray, a powerful, pungent and difficult-to-remove odour discharged from the musk glands at the base of its tail.
    Skunks are comfortable denning in close proximity to humans thus a common culprit in human/pet-wildlife difficulties. Besides their repelling spray, they scavenge garbage and occasionally predate on poultry. They are potential carriers of rabies.
  • Tree Squirrels
    Red Squirrel. Credit: US FWS.
    Scientific Name
    Various
    Status
    Common, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    0.1-0.3 kg, 25-35cm
     
    Red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) are native to northern Alberta while grey squirrels (Sciurus griseus) are an introduced species common in Southern Alberta.
    Food gathering behaviour in both species may cause damage to trees, lawns and gardens, while their nesting behaviour may cause damage to residential/industrial/municipal structures and create structural and fire hazards.
  • Ungulates
    Scientific Name
    Various
    Status
    Common, Game
    Weight/Size
    Various
     
    Ungulates, including whitetail deer, (Odocoileus virginianus), elk (Cervus elaphus) and moose (Alces alces) are common in Alberta. As herbivores, they may cause damage to crops and tree nurseries, or compete with domestic livestock for food. They may also damage minor structures such as fences.
    Ungulates generally ignore or flee from humans; only in very rare cases have humans been attacked, usually by aggressive males during the fall rut. Automobile collisions with ungulates are the leading cause of human injury or death from wildlife.
  • Weasel
    Ermine. Credit: Michael Toma
    Scientific Name
    Mustela erminia
    Status
    Common, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    0.1-0.2kg, 20-60cm
     
    Also known as Ermine, weasels are white in the winter and brown in the summer. They are voracious predators of small rodents and insects, commonly found around roadsides and farmland.
    Weasels are threats to poultry, exotic birds, and small domestic pets; their "surplus killing" behaviour in which they kill more than is immediately needed for food, is capable of causing extensive damage to livestock populations.
  • Wolves
    Scientific Name
    Canis lupus
    Status
    Common, Furbearer
    Weight/Size
    35-60kg, 1-2m
     
    Wolves are large canid predators that prey throughout the remote natural areas of Alberta, mainly on large animals including white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk and beaver. They are differentiated from coyotes by having heavier snouts and rounded ears, and from similiar dogs by having uncurled bushy tails and upright ears.
    Wolves are typically shy of humans. However, in agricultural areas, they occasionally a predation threat to unsupervised domestic livestock and pets. Wolves rarely venture into built-up areas, although there have been cases of individuals habituating to certain anthropogenic food sources as scavengers; at that point, the wolf is considered a significant safety risk to humans and should be removed.