Mammals Unique to Canada

Not all of Canada's landscapes are habitable by mammalian life.
Not all of Canada's landscapes are habitable by mammalian life.

There are approximately over 200 mammal species that are native to Canada and found in a wide range of ecosystems ranging from mountainous regions to plains. Canada is on record to be having particular mammals that are uniquely endemic to its regions and not any other part of the world. There are different species of mammals uniquely found in Canada which includes the Gaspe shrew, Maritime shrew, Vancouver Island marmot, Ogilvie Mountains collared lemming, Richardson's collared lemming.


Gaspé Shrew

Gaspé shrew is one of the rare small mammals that has a long tail and found in Canada. The long tail has earned it the name normally referred to as the long-tailed shrew. Gaspé shrew is classified in the family of soricadae. In Canada, the population of Gaspé shrew is in four groups in different parts of Canada with one being found in the Gaspé Peninsula, two found in New Brunswick and the other one in northern Nova Scotia. The Gaspé shrew inhabits the rocky and mountainous habitats. Gaspé Shrew’s long incisors and a narrow skull give it an adaptation of surviving in its habitats as it extracts spiders, centipedes, and insects from crevices in the rocky environment. Their body is of an average length of 100mm ranging between 95-127 mm and weighing an average of 2.9grams. The Gaspé shrew species sexual life is less known but thought to reproduce during spring and summer.

Maritime Shrew

Maritime shrew mammals' species is endemic to Canada specifically found in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The maritime shrew mammal species inhabits the plains that are wetlands. They are among the endangered mammal species of Canada as their habitats are affected by global warming and frequent floods.

Richardson's Collared Lemming

The Richardson collared lemming species is native to tundra in the west Hudson Bay in the central north of Canada named after Sir John Richardson who is a Scottish naturalist who delved the Canadian Arctic. The species has a short, small, separated body covered with brown fur and having a thin dark stripe across its back and red, gray belly. Its ears are usually small in size with small short legs and a small tail. The Richardson collared lemming mammal species are known to feed on green vegetation commonly grass during the summer, and when it comes to winter, it usually feeds on twigs. Also during the winter, Richardson's collared lemming mammal species often develops a large digging claws found on the front feet. The size of this species is believed to be 13 cm long, 1 cm tail long with it weighing an average weight of 60 grams.


Canada is home to numerous species apart from the ones discussed above. Apart from the above unique mammal species, there are other different species about 195 found in Canada. These species range from the pygmy shrew to the mighty polar bear. Apart from the friendly mammal species endemic to Canada, there are some dangerous, mammal species such as the short-tailed shrew that has a poisonous bite.

Mammals Unique to Canada

RankCommon nameScientific name
1Gaspe shrewSorex gaspensis
2Maritime shrewSorex maritimensis
3Vancouver Island marmotMarmota vancouverensis
4Ungava collared lemmingDicrostonyx hudsonius
5Ogilvie mountains collared lemmingDicrostonyx nunatakensis
6Richardson's collared lemmingDicrostonyx richardsoni

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