7 amazing Manitoba wildlife facts

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Manitoba is home to diverse wildlife, making it one of the richest and most unique ecosystems in the world. We’re introducing you to just some of these amazing creatures, and we hope you’ll be amazed:

  1. Snake party

    Did you know that Manitoba has the biggest mating den for snakes? In early May, thousands of red-sided garter snakes, the largest concentration of this type of snake in the world, come out and mate at the Narcisse Dens. Visitors to the den located in the small community of Narcisse, Manitoba, can follow a trail to see tens of thousands of snakes forming multiple mating balls. It’s a weird sight that can leave you mesmerized!

    The best times to go are in the later part of April and first three weeks in May (on a warm sunny day preferably). Entrance is free.

  2. Polar bear central

    Wapusk National Park in northern MB is one of the largest denning areas for polar bears in the world (“Wapusk” is the Cree word for polar bear). It is estimated that a thousand polar bears live in this area. You can view these majestic creatures safely through guided tours and expeditions in Churchill, Manitoba, which is the gateway community to the park. But if you need a polar bear fix, you can also see them at the Assiniboine Zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit.

  3. Whale song

    Churchill is home to another massive and magnificent creature, Beluga whales. Every summer, around 4,000 whales swim to the Churchill River estuary to feed, mate and give birth. You can get up close and personal with these playful creatures through boat, kayak and Aquagliding tours.

  4. Birding mecca

    Manitoba is considered a birder’s paradise because it has a diversity of habitats – grasslands, wetlands, boreal forest, and sub-arctic. More than 300 bird species have been found to breed here. This includes North America’s largest owl, the Great Gray Owl, which is also our provincial bird. Want to know what other bird species you can see? Here’s an extensive list: Atlas of the breeding birds of MB.

  5. Great Grey Owl

    Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) by Bernard Spragg. NZ from Flickr. Public Domain.

  6. Duck, Duck, Goose

    Did you know that six of the 13 species of geese found in North America can be spotted in Manitoba? These include Snow Geese, Cackling Geese, Greater White-Fronted Geese, Ross’s Geese, and Brant. Some of these birds are not as commonly seen as the Canada Goose, but they can be spotted in the province on certain seasons during their migration.

  7. Fish Story

    You can find the largest freshwater fish in North America in the waters of Winnipeg. The average size of sturgeon is 0.9 to 1.5 m and 3.5 to 36 kg but they can grow up to 2.5 m and weigh over 140 kg. This fish can live up to 150 years old and they never stop growing in size! Go to Seven Sisters at Winnipeg River in July and August and you might see them jumping, twirling, and tail walking like dolphins.

  8. Majestic symbol

    The bison is our province’s official symbol, representing MB’s pioneering spirit. Bison are the largest land mammals in North America. They can grow up to six feet tall and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Despite their size, they can run up to 60 km/hour! Bison are well adapted to prairie winter and foraging rangelands. Some of the best places to see herds of these magnificent creatures are at Riding Mountain National Park and Fort Whyte Alive.

Sources: Natural resources and Development, Manitoba; Manitoba wildlands, Biodiversity and species; 43 fun facts about Manitoba, Travel Manitoba, About Lake Sturgeon, Manitoba Hydro; Top 10 wildlife encounters, Travel Manitoba; and 6 types of geese found in Manitoba, Bird Advisors. Accessed November 16, 2022.

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