One of the joys of the Bragg Creek area is the abundance of wildlife to be found, and it can get pretty wild out there! From tiny voles and squirrels to majestic mountain lions and bears, the variety of animals gives the feeling of being at one with nature.
Please note: bears and cougars can be particularly dangerous. Please familiarize yourself with information on what to do if you encounter a bear or a cougar. We recommend downloading the brochures ‘Bear In Mind’ and ‘Living With Cougars’ to be prepared,
Alberta is home to two bear species, the black bear (ursus americanus) and the grizzly bear (ursus arctos horribilis).
The grizzly bear (also known as the Silvertip bear or North American brown bear) is the larger of the two, weighing between 200 and 880 pounds. Comparatively, the local black bear can weigh 100 to 440 pounds. The most obvious way of telling the two species apart is that a grizzly’s body is tallest at the shoulder, where there is a hump, and a brown bear is tallest at the rump. Both species can range in colour from black to blond, and both primarily eat plants, berries and insects, Though, the grizzly tends to be more carnivorous and more commonly hunt large mammals as prey.
For more information on comparing the two species visit Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
The cougar, or mountain lion, is a large, solitary member of the cat family with the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, sprawling from the Yukon to the southern Andes in South America. The cougar is a very capable stalk-and-ambush predator, eating mainly deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle and horses. It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can also live in open areas. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. Cougars are reclusive cats and usually avoid people. Attacks on humans remain fairly rare.
The moose is the largest member of the deer family, and are distinguishable by their large, flattish antlers. Despite their odd appearance, moose are surprisingly nimble creatures, and, with their great height (often 6 to 7 feet high at the shoulder), can easily bound over high fences.
All moose are herbivores and eat many types of plants and fruit. The average adult moose requires approximately 9770 calories per day.
Moose, although a rare sighting, are extremely aggressive and precaution should be taken when coming across it’s path or pulling over for photos.
Deer are the most common wild animals to be seen in the Bragg Creek area, and should be watched for while driving as they are known to dart across roads unexpectedly. Both mule deer and white-tailed deer, both of which have white tailed rumps, populate Bragg Creek. The white-tailed deer also has white under-markings and white flashes around their snout. Mule deer on the other hand have larger ears and a black tipped tail. Both species are about 3 to 4 feet in height and 5 to 6 feet in length, with the females being 20% smaller. Their coats are brownish in the summer and slightly grey in winter.
Deer survive on grasses, leaves, and twigs. They are constantly on the move for new food sources and are vigilant to any sounds around them. This, combined with their terrific agility in woods, is their main defense against predators.
The most enchanting thing to see deer do is bounce when they run. This is actually called “stotting” or “pronking”, when they land on all 4 hooves at once.
The phrase ‘busy as a beaver’ is never truer than when applied to the animal itself. They are unusual among wildlife in that they actually modify their environment for their own personal use, eternally gnawing trees with their constantly growing teeth. They can fell up to 200 trees in a year and have a massive impact on the landscape because of this.
Beavers are about 3 to 4 feet long, have dark brown oily coats, a paddle-like tail, and weigh up to 70 pounds.
Beavers eat bark from branches and develop a layer of fat for insulation. Did you know that they are active under the ice in winter?
The pond created by well-maintained dams help isolate the beavers’ homes, their lodges, which are created from severed branches and mud. The beavers cover their lodges late every autumn with fresh mud, which freezes when the frost sets in. The mud becomes almost as hard as stone, protecting the inhabitants from predators. A little known fact is that there are typically two dens in a lodge, one for drying off after leaving the water, and a drier one where the family actually lives.
Note: Beware of beaver territory, especially during mating season, as beavers can be very aggressive.
More information about the abundant wildlife in our area can be found here.