There are hundreds of animals, reptiles, birds, fish, and insects that call Algonquin Park home. One of the most common questions we receive when booking a guided or self-guided trip is, “what type of wildlife will I see in the Park?” We never guarantee wildlife sightings during your stay in the Park, but with a long list of Park residents, you’re sure to see something!
We get the most questions about Moose, Black Bear, Wolves and Loons, so keep reading to find out more about these amazing creatures.
Moose are year round residents of Algonquin Park. They have a long brownish-black head and snout, large ears, and a dewlap (or bell) hanging from their throat. The average moose is about the size of a horse with long legs, humped shoulders, and a short tail. During the summer, males (bulls) can be differentiated from females (cows) by their antlers. Moose are herbivores and feed on aquatic vegetation, ground plants, leaves and twigs.
In the spring you are very likely to see moose down near or in the water during the morning mist before the sun comes up. Moose are generally silent creatures, but during mating season male moose can be heard communicating with females with a distinct “ga-wunk” sound, while females answer with a sound like a drawn out moan.
In Algonquin Park, the main predators are bears and wolves. However, a healthy adult moose is a strong opponent against their predators due to their strength and size.
There are approximately 3,500 moose living in Algonquin Park. Our guided canoe trips are a great opportunity for moose spotting. Why not try out our 3-day canoe trip? If you are especially keen on a moose sighting and you are an avid photographer, come on our 3 day moose photo safari, led by one of our guides and an award-winning professional photographer. Our 3 day log cabin adventure also includes a sunrise paddle in search of moose.
After the moose, Black Bears are the next largest mammal residing in Algonquin Park. They tend to weigh between 100 and 330 lbs with males being slightly larger than the females. They are the only bear species in the Park. Like the moose, Black Bears are year round residents of Algonquin Park, who hibernate in the winter months.
Black Bears tend to avoid contact with people unless (through human carelessness) they associate humans with food. Black Bears are approximately 1 metre high at shoulder level and about 2 metres in length. They have a broad head with small rounded ears. Their full is dark black or brown in colours and they sometimes have a slight white patch on their chest.
Black Bears are omnivores and eat anything they can obtain although plants make up about 95% of their diet. Unfortunately, bears will also feed on human garbage, if available, so it is very important for campers to store their food and garbage properly. Black Bears will make a resonant noise when frightened and grunting noises when playing.
Black Bears have very few predators in Algonquin Park and there are currently 2,000 Black Bears calling Algonquin home. We are lucky to even see one black bear on one of our guided canoe trips all year!
The wolf typically has a reddish-brown muzzle, is reddish-brown behind the ears and on the lower legs and has a black, white and grey back. They are not very large and are typically about 60-68 centimetres at their shoulder. Guests to Algonquin Park who see a wolf often confuse it for a coyote, which are not found in Algonquin Park. The wolves typically weigh between 50 and 60 lbs.
Wolves are also year-round residents of Algonquin Park, however they do travel long distances to find food. In Algonquin, wolves have been known to occupy a territory of up to 500 square kilometres. Their main prey are White Tailed Deer, Moose, and Beaver. Wolves have been noted to travel outside the boundaries of the Park in search of food (namely White Tailed Deer) and have subsequently been killed by humans either intentionally or by accident. Like the Black Bear, wolves have very few predators aside from the Black Bear itself and other wolves.
When we think of the sounds of the wolves, we think of the howl. A single howl is used to keep in contact with members of the pack, while a pack howl is thought to be for both social cohesion and to mark territory. We can hear wolves howling at our Log Cabin in February and September! To hear this animal call, join us on our fall colours log cabin adventure or our winter lodge adventure
There are approximately 35 wolf packs living in Algonquin Park at this time.
The Loon is Algonquin Park’s most popular bird. In the summer months, both the male and female loons have black heads that appear iridescent, red eyes, a white “necklace” around a black neck, a white breast, white spots on a dark black back and sides, and a dark pointed bill.
Loons are migratory and near the end of the summer they will gather on many of the larger lakes in Algonquin Park. Adults typically migrate before younger birds and by the middle of November, the majority of the loon popular will have left AlgonquinPark for areas on the Atlantic Ocean or Great Lakes. In the Spring, Loons will gather on ice free lakes to the south of AlgonquinPark an will fly north in search of ice free water within the Park.
Loons mainly feed on yellow perch, smallmouth bass, minnows, crayfish, frogs, leeches, and aquatic insects. They will dive for their food. The typical dive is 45 seconds and to a depth of 15 feet, however they have been known to go to depths of over 200 feet and stay submerged for more than 3 minutes.
Loons have some of the most recognizable calls in Algonquin Park. They make four distinct sounds known as the yodel, hoot, wait and tremolo. We are lucky to hear loons at both Surprise Lake and Kawawaymog Lake, the sites of our two properties. Join us at Kawawaymog at the Island Retreat, Cottage Outpost, or Lakeside Cabin and Bunkhouse for a chance to hear the beautiful sounds of Algonquin’s inhabitants!
Loons are fortunate to have very few predators, however they do need to watch out for Osprey and Bald Eagles.
Other Algonquin Park residents include:
- White-tailed deer
- Small mammals including Red Squirrels and Chipmunks
- Over 270 recorded bird species
- Over 30 different species of reptiles and amphibians
- 7,000 species of insects (some of which we love to hate – the mosquito and the black fly!)