Most Common Animals In Vancouver You May See

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Are you wondering what the common animals in Vancouver are? I can help you out.

Born and raised in Vancouver, I have seen many of these animals in the city, whether in my neighbourhood, around the city, or exploring the ocean and forest.

Wildlife encounters in Vancouver are typically common for most of these animals, while others aren’t. But, between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this city is home to a variety of wildlife that adds a touch of nature to its urban landscape. 

From parks to shorelines, Vancouver is home to all animals, big and small. And you will be sure to see a lot of animals while you visit Vancouver.

Common Animals In Vancouver

Here are all the common animals you may see in Vancouver on land, in the water, or flying in the air.

Birds

Let’s start with the birds. While many different species of birds live in British Columbia, these are the most common that you may see flying around the city or while driving to more suburban areas.

Crows

Crows have to be the number one bird you will see in Vancouver; they are everywhere. With its black feathers and distinctive caw, you will often find them soaring through the skies or perched on buildings, scavenging for food in parks and streets.

Crows are the number one most common animal in Vancouver.

Pigeons

Another common bird you will see mostly around businesses is the pigeon, also called rock doves. Grey feathers with green-purplish necks and casual cooing, these birds navigate the city’s landscape, perching on ledges and pecking around the ground.

Pigeons are known as rock doves and can be spotted in Vancouver around businesses.

Seagulls

In Vancouver, seagulls are a common and distinctive sight around water. You can spot them with their white and grey feathers and yellow beaks.

Seagulls are another common bird you will see in Vancouver.

Canadian Geese

Canadian geese are well known to Canadians as the “Cobra Chickens,” or, as I like to call them, “The Canadian Military.” You can see many of these geese whenever there is ample green space, such as parks and fields or by ponds and lakes.

You can recognize Canadian geese in the air as they form a V-shaped flight formation and distinctive honking noises.

Do not get too close to them, as they can be mean and will hiss at you; yes, they hiss like snakes and will attempt to bite. Also, watch out for geese poop!

Canadian geese are known to Canadians as "Cobra Chickens" and often spotted in large green spaces in Vancouver or by the water.

House Sparrows

House Sparrows are considered invasive and were introduced to British Columbia in the 1850s. They are small brown birds, with males having black markings and brighter colours of brown, while the females are fluffy and have duller coloured feathers.

House sparrows are another common bird that you may see in Vancouver.

Eagles

Eagles are large birds of prey with a wingspan ranging from five and a half feet to eight feet. They are also known for their powerful flight and keen eyesight. Their appearance includes white heads, dark brown feathers, hooked beaks, and talon feet.

They are often associated with diverse habitats, including mountains, forests, and coastal areas. I have seen many eagles outside the city or soaring high in the sky, especially during the summer.

Eagles are an amazing site to see soaring int he sky above Vancouver.

Great Blue Herons

Great Blue Herons are characterized by long beaks, legs, and wide wingspans, making them easy to recognize. Often found by the water, you can see them hunting for fish.

Despite being non-migratory and sticking around throughout the year, these herons are considered at risk due to habitat loss in British Columbia.

🔎 Where To See: Stanley Park along the seawall, Whiterock, Richmond.

Great Blue Herons can be spotted around Stanley Park and other locations in the ocean hunting for food.

Marine Wildlife

Vancouver is situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and has many lakes and rivers, so you are bound to see some marine wildlife. 

Seals

Seals, particularly harbour seals, are common marine mammals around Vancouver. With their spotted and streamlined bodies, they inhabit the coastlines, estuaries, and coastal waters, often spotted resting on rocks or near shorelines.

Seals are common to see sometimes off the coast of Vancouver.

Orcas (Killer Whales)

Orcas, known as killer whales, are prominent marine mammals frequently seen in the waters around Vancouver during the migration season. Resident and transient orcas are commonly seen off the coast of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. 

Residents killer whales, known for their close family bonds, primarily feed on fish. At the same time, transient killer whales prefer other marine mammals and lead more solitary lives.

Killer whales or orcas are often seen off the coast during their migration season.

Orcas are the marine animals that represent Vancouver. We have a professional hockey team called the Vancouver Canucks, where their logo is an orca.

When I was younger, there used to be painted orca statues you could find around Vancouver; however, there are maybe one or two left around. But there is a sculpture of a killer whale beside the Vancouver Convention Centre called Digital Orca.

🔎 Where To See: A whale-watching tour is the best way to see orcas in Vancouver. If you are wondering if whale watching is worth it, it is an excellent and unique experience.

Salmon

One of the things Vancouver, British Columbia, is famous for is the abundance of salmon. You can find Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, Chum, and Pink salmon near the city or in rivers and streams in British Columbia.

🔎 Where To See: Capilano River Salmon Hatchery, Chehalis River Hatchery, Chilliwack River Hatchery, and more locations.

Vancouver has many salmon hatcherys.

Land Animals

These are the common land animals in the city or around parks such as Stanley Park or other local parks in the tri-cities.

Coyotes

Introduced in the 1980s to Vancouver, coyotes are resourceful wild canines that have become part of the city’s urban wildlife. They are grayish-brown with distinctive pointed ears and a bushy tail; they inhabit parks, green spaces, and suburban neighbourhoods.

Coyotes are adaptable omnivores, feeding on small mammals, birds, fruits, and insects, and may scavenge in urban areas. While generally wary of humans, some are known to be aggressive, especially near a den.

🔎 Where To See: This is more of a warning because they do like to frequent Stanley Park.

Coyotes are common to see around Vancouver. They normally come out at night.

Raccoons

Trash Pandas! Also known as raccoons, they are relatively common in Vancouver. While you may not see them in the city centre, you will see them in local neighbourhoods, parks, allies, etc.

I usually see a raccoon at least once a week – one time, I had a family of six raccoons on my back porch, and they then climbed onto my roof.

Raccoons are another animal in Vancouver that are common to spot in Vancouver neighbourhoods.

Squirrels

British Columbia has four types of tree squirrels. We have the Red squirrels, Douglas squirrels, Northern flying squirrels, and Eastern grey squirrels.

You will see the Eastern grey squirrels the most in Vancouver, as they are adapted to the city. They are larger than the native squirrels and can be grey, black, or brindle with large bushy tails that are longer than their bodies.

🔎 Where To See: Queen Elizabeth Park has many squirrels.

Squirrels like to populate trees in Vancouver. Queen Elizabeth Park is the best spot to see them in Vancouver.

Rats

Rats, yes, you will most likely see a rat running around a Downtown Vancouver ally. Or, if you’re lucky, run across from you during a walk, which has happened to me many times. They mostly come out during the night when no one is around.

Rats are common in Vancouver but usually come out during the night.

Mice

Same as rats, we have mice. I have seen more mice than rats in the city during both the night and day. You may see black boxes in restaurants, on the side of buildings, or in other locations; those are for catching mice.

Mice can be spotted everywhere in Vancouverand are super common.

Skunks

We do have skunks in Vancouver, and I had a skunk live in the area around my neighbourhood, but I believe it is no longer around. They are black with two white stripes down the middle of their bodies to their tails and a white line on their faces.

Stay away from a skunk because they can spray you more than 10 feet away. Sometimes, you may smell a skunk spray in a neighbourhood lingering in the air – it doesn’t smell the greatest.

Skunks are another common animal in Vancouver, but you don't want to get close to them.

Black bears

Black bears are typically more common in North Vancouver, the suburbs of Coquitlam, or anywhere near the mountains; they like to poke around at people’s garbage bins for food. In addition, Vancouver Island’s most common animal is the black bear.

Despite their typically solitary and shy nature, they are still dangerous, especially if they have cubs, in which mothers can become aggressive. Encounters with humans may occur, especially on hiking trails or at campgrounds.

Black bears don't often wander into the city, but they have been seen in the suburbian neighbourhoods.

Rabbits

While they aren’t seen all around Vancouver, you can see rabbits in a local park in Vancouver. In the West End community at Jericho Park, many wild rabbits like to come out during the evening to eat the grass on the field.

They’re timid and will hop away from you as you approach them.

Rabbits can be found in Jericho Beach in the West End. There are hundreds of them.

What To Do If You See A Dangerous Animal In Vancouver

First, if you see a dangerous animal in Vancouver, don’t approach it. Secondly, you can call the non-emergency police line (604-717-3321) to report a wildlife encounter, and they will contact the conservation officers.

Most Common Vancouver Wildlife – FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about common animals in Vancouver.

What Animals Are In The Harbour In Vancouver?

You can spot orcas and seals in Vancouver’s harbours. It will be your best time to see them during whale watching season.

What Animals Live In Stanley Park Vancouver?

Many animals live in Stanley Park. Some include coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and more.

Does Vancouver Have Sea Lions?

It is rare to spot sea lions in Vancouver. But some have been spotted before.

Does Vancouver Have Bobcats?

British Columbia is home to bobcats. But, in Vancouver, there are rarely bobcat sightings. However, some bobcats or lynxes have been spotted in the suburbs.

Conclusion: Most Common Animals In Vancouver

As you can see, Vancouver’s unique geography, encompassing forests, parks, and marine ecosystems, provides an excellent habitat for wildlife in the city. So if you’re by the water, in the city, or a local neighbourhood, you’re bound to see one of Vancouver’s common animals.

Have a good day 🙂

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