Wildlife within Calgary's parks play a very important role in maintaining and sustaining a healthy environment. Our natural parks range in size from 0.43 hectares to 1127 hectares and are home to an array of both flora and fauna, including wild animals that can make a stroll through the park very memorable. Safety First! All wild animals are unpredictable. For your safety and the animal's well being, please maintain a safe distance between yourself and any animal encountered. Do not provoke animals and remember, never feed any wildlife.
What to do if you see a wild animal
are common in Calgary. Keep your dog leashed at all times, and pick up children or small dogs if a coyote is spotted. If you are in a remote location and spot a coyote, leave the area immediately. Never leave food in your yard, even pet food, and avoid hanging bird feeders that contain lard or suet.
These animals are usually seen in June. If you encounter a fawn that is not moving, please do not touch it. Many people think the fawn is injured when, in actual fact, the process of remaining still for up to several hours is the fawn's natural defence mechanism. The doe will leave the fawn alone so as not to attract the attention of a predator.
Badgers are largely solitary and nocturnal in their habitats, and are not violent. They will only show aggression towards people if they are provoked. Please keep your dogs away. Badgers use hundreds of burrows within their home ranges and many burrows are re-used, often by different badgers.
Porcupines do not shoot quills; they actually need to touch their target. Keep your dog away, as it can be a long and painful process for your pet to have the quills removed.
Richardson's ground squirrel (Gopher)
– also known as gophers – are native to North America. They fill an essential role in the prairie ecosystem and are considered a keystone species in terms of a food source for countless predators.
The City of Calgary Parks will manage issues related to ground squirrels on City-owned land when holes pose a safety risk for people and their pets (such as sports fields) or threaten municipal land (such as causing slope failures). The City does not conduct gopher control in natural environment parks in Calgary.
are often considered pests due to their seemingly destructive nature but, they are highly beneficial to the environment. The ponds created from their dams create habitat for other wildlife, and the vegetation around these ponds flourish. After a dam has broken, the fertilizer - created from the decomposing mass in the dam - will spread downstream. A beaver's teeth never stop growing, so they have to gnaw on bark to wear their teeth down. Their diet consists mostly of bark from poplar, aspen and birch trees, and they only eat enough to satisfy their needs and to make dams.
Beavers are timid creatures but can become aggressive when they feel frightened or threatened, so please respect their space.
Bats are extremely effective at controlling the mosquito population – in fact, single brown bat can catch 600 mosquitoes
in one hour. Bats also help plants and trees by spreading seeds, germinating and fertilizing through their droppings. If you see a bat nearby, do not touch it. Bats only bite in self-defence and might think they are being attacked if you try to handle them.
If you have any other concerns or questions about bats, please call the Bat Conservation Society of Calgary at 403-295-6227.
Magpies eat nuts, sunflower seeds, insects and small animals. They are scavenger birds and are well adapted to our environment. Young magpies will make a lot of noise when they want to be fed. Older magpies are noisy when trying to scare predators away from their nest. If you have a noisy magpie near your house, there is probably a food source nearby – therefore, removing the food source should solve the problem.
These large animals sometimes wander into our city and can pose a public safety risk. If bears, cougars or moose are spotted within Calgary, please call 9-1-1.
For more information on fauna in natural parks, contact Parks.