Essay

9 of the Deadliest Animals in British Columbia

British Columbia, sometimes known as B.C., is the westernmost province of Canada and boasts a rich, varied, and wild landscape. In addition, four US states and the Pacific Ocean border British Columbia. The province extends further north into the untamed regions of the Northwest Territories and Yukon, which are also a part of Canada.

British Columbia is home to a wide range of animals, including some of the deadliest, like cougars, bears, and boars. It is also the largest province in Canada with the most protected areas.

Black Bear

You can tell there are a lot of bears around when you see a logo that reads “Be Bear Aware”! According to estimates from the Canadian government, British Columbia is home to between 120,000 and 160,000 black bears (Ursus americanus). There are more than 10,000 of them on Vancouver Island alone.

Some species found around the St. Elias Mountains have blue undertones to their jet-black coats. In other regions, black bears may have cream-colored or white coats. Males can stand five to seven feet (152 to 213 centimeters) tall and weigh up to 595 pounds (270 kilograms). Women are capable of weighing up to 140 kg (308 pounds).

Black bears can run at over 30 kilometers per hour and are skilled swimmers and climbers. Although there are a lot of bears in the province, assaults on people are uncommon—like the one that happened in 2022.

In spite of this, for the sake of public safety, provincial officials have put well over 5,000 bears to death since 2011. Things like unsecured rubbish are likely to draw bears because they are prone to re-visit areas that are good sources of food.

Grizzly Bear

Other than people, grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), the ultimate predators, have no natural adversaries. however practically exterminated in the lower 48, there may still be up to 10,000 left in British Columbia, however their numbers are declining there too.

The weight of a grizzly bear fluctuates greatly with the season. This can drop to 290 pounds (130 kilograms) for females and 480 pounds (220 kilograms) for males in the spring. They can weigh up to 40% more in the fall when they are gaining weight in preparation for hibernation. These bears may reach a height of nine feet (274 centimeters) when standing on their hind legs.

Hibernation is one of the most significant cycles in a grizzly’s life. In the interior of British Columbia, they hibernate longer, from October to May, subsisting only on fat reserves. The “nap” of this long winter in coastal places lasts from November until mid-April. A grizzly bear’s body temperature and heart rate decrease during hibernation.

The birth of the cubs, however, is the most important thing that happens at this time. Until hibernation, fertilized summer eggs do not implant in the uterus of a female. If all goes according to plan, she will usually come out of her lair with two cubs, who will spend three or even four years with their mother.

In the province, there have been 104 grizzly bear attacks between 2010 and 2021. These interactions can quickly become deadly, as demonstrated by the occurrence in adjacent Alberta in 2023 when a grizzly killed a couple along with their dog.

Cougar

The largest wild cat in Canada, the cougar (Puma concolor) is a skilled killer that can take down a 500-pound moose. An adult male typically weighs around 125 pounds (56 kilograms), while an adult female typically weighs about 100 pounds (45 kilograms). Currently, an estimated 3,500 cougars—named for their extremely long tails, short coats, and cat-like tread—live in the region.

Even though these creatures are expert hunters, it doesn’t seem like they often eat people. These covert cats almost never attack people, and when they do, it’s generally with the intention of avoiding them. However, not always.

In British Columbia, there have been 29 known attacks by cougars and five fatal encounters with them over the past century. Van Island has seen the most of these incidents. A citizen of the province was brutally attacked by a cougar outside his home in one of the most recent incidences that occurred in 2021.

Also referred to as panthers and mountain lions. The main prey for cougars is deer, but they also eat raccoons, rabbits, and beavers.

Wolf

Don’t be fooled by that recognizable dog appearance! It is true that the grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a wild animal. There are about 8,500 wolves in the province, so it seems like their numbers are staying the same. However, hundreds of wolves are killed annually by Canadian officials in what many view as a misguided attempt to protect the critically endangered caribou. The wolf culling program in British Columbia was extended for an additional five years in 2022. More than 1,709 wolves have been killed since it started in 2015.

Canis lupus crassodon, a genetically distinct subspecies of grey wolves, is found on Vancouver Island. Its range is restricted to the island; it is regarded as an endangered species.

Wolves rarely attack people without provocation. A wolf dragged a camper into the woods while he was still in his sleeping bag in 2000, waking him up. A kayaker was attacked in 2007 as he was setting up his campsite. And in 2020, a lone wolf attacked a guy in northwest British Columbia, seriously injuring him in his front yard. Later, the animal was shot after being captured.

The grey wolf, the biggest of all wild dogs, can reach a weight of 130 pounds (60 kilograms). Its coat can be almost completely white, black, or grey.

Although they rarely attack people, wolves are nonetheless highly dangerous and have the ability to cause deadly wounds when provoked.

Bison

There are still two subspecies of wild bison in British Columbia, despite the fact that the animals are primarily raised on ranches. They are known as plains bison (Bison bison bison) and wood bison (Bison bison athabascae).

After being nearly exterminated via hunting, their population has increased during the 1900s. Approximately 1,500 plains bison and a few small wood bison herds are thought to exist in British Columbia at the moment.

Large creatures, bison can weigh between 1,800 and 2,400 pounds (816 and 1,088 kg). They are also capable of running, reaching top speeds of 35 mph. They swim quite well and can jump well. Human interactions with them are very dangerous because of all these characteristics. The majority have happened in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. There, visitors who don’t keep a polite distance have been known to be charged, butted, and thrown by bison.

It is a common mistake to refer to bison as buffalo.

Wild Boar

Boars are descended from domesticated pigs and are also referred to as wild pigs or feral hogs. When left to fend for themselves in the wild, farmed pigs quickly return to the status of wild boars. Their tusks grow longer, they get more aggressive, and their coats change color in a matter of generations on their own.

Although the number of wild boars in British Columbia is unknown, reports of sightings in Canada have put it as high as 62,000. And there might be more shortly. Unprecedented wildfires in 2023 caused a large number of tamed pigs to flee into the wild.

Usually, wild boars attack by lunging forward. Their long, pointed tusks can cause severe, even fatal wounds. Experts are currently worried that these Canadian “super pigs” may evolve into larger, stronger animals with superior survival abilities.

In both Canada and the United States, wild boars are regarded as invasive species due to their weight of over 220 pounds (75 kilograms).

Sea Lion

Even though they might seem harmless, it’s wise to watch sea lions from a safe distance! These marine creatures are known to possess a rare and harmful bacteria in their mouths, and their jaws are incredibly strong.

There have been multiple cases of apparently spontaneous assaults on humans by sea lions in British Columbia. In one, a young child was sitting on a dock when a sea lion seized her and pulled her underneath. She was rescued from the water by her granddad.

Another incident involved a kayaker who was passing by a dock where many sea lions were sleeping. They dove into the sea one by one, after the terrified boater.

The Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) and the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) are the two species of sea lions that inhabit the province. Female Steller bear weights up to 800 pounds (363 kilograms), whereas male Steller bear weights up to 2,500 pounds (1133 kilograms). At about 800 pounds (363 kilograms) for males and 240 pounds (109 kilograms) for females, California sea lions are smaller than other sea lion species.

Rattlesnake

Only one species of rattler is found in British Columbia: the northern pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus). If antivenom is not applied promptly, this poisonous snake’s bite could be lethal.

In British Columbia, there are an estimated 17,375 adult and immature rattlers. The B.C. Wildlife Act protects these snakes, despite the fact that they may appear to be many. That implies that it is illegal to kill, maim, or trap one.

In the province, only a small number of people are bitten by rattlers annually on average. The majority of those incidents take place when people try to handle the snakes. Generally speaking, rattlesnakes are not hostile and would much rather avoid human contact. Having said that, they will attack if provoked or threatened.

Black Widow Spider

The deadly spider Latrodectus Hesperus, also known as the western black widow, is present in British Columbia. primarily in the province’s southern region.

The black widow’s venom is fifteen times more potent than a rattlesnake’s. The body rapidly dilutes the tiny amount of venom that is injected, which is a saving grace in this case. That doesn’t mean a bite won’t make someone react. Black widow bites cause excruciating agony and can even cause spasms in the muscles.

Black widows that are male or young typically don’t bite. Women, though, are a different matter. After mating, if they are truly hungry, they will murder and devour their partner.