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Incredible Wildlife Photography in Toronto, Ontario (with Contributions from the GTA Photo Community)

Feature image collage with photos by Vlad Podvorny, Mykola Swarnyk and Fabian Roudra Baroi

Toronto wildlife is under threat from development and urban congestion but there are nooks where animals can be found, for example in the abundant parks and green spaces throughout the city and especially found on the lakeshore and in the many river valleys.

Let’s talk about the wildlife and animals in Toronto. Toronto is a city that has a rich diversity of fauna, with thousands of unique species living in its parks, green spaces, ravines, and urban areas.

Birds are one of the most common animals in the city. Depending on the season you can easily locate everyday birds like pigeons, sparrows, robins and colourful specimens like blue jays and cardinals. If you venture into locations like High Park or Evergreen Brickworks you may spot a hawk or owl. Just follow the advice of birders and avoid stalking birds or luring them with food or treats. Keep to the worn trails and respect the wildlife when you are exploring around the city.

Photos by GTA photographers via Tdot Shots Instagram


Overview of iconic and typical species in TO

Some of the most common and charismatic animals that you can encounter in Toronto are:

  • Coyotes: These are the largest predators in the city, and they can be heard howling at night. They feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and sometimes garbage. They usually avoid humans, but they can pose a threat to pets if left outside at night. You can learn how to deter coyotes and keep your pets safe from this website.
  • Foxes: These are smaller than coyotes, but similar in appearance. They are also nocturnal and shy, and they hunt for mice, voles, squirrels, and birds. They can be seen in many parts of the city, especially near wooded areas and golf courses. You can find out more about foxes and how to prevent conflict with them here.
  • Raccoons: These are the most notorious and abundant urban wildlife in Toronto, and they are often seen as pests by residents. They are omnivorous and opportunistic, and they can easily adapt to human environments. They are known for their dexterity, intelligence, and curiosity. They can cause damage to property and transmit diseases such as rabies and canine distemper. You can learn more about raccoons and how to deal with them here.
  • Skunks: These are black and white striped animals that can spray a foul-smelling liquid from their anal glands when threatened. They are mostly active at night, and they feed on insects, worms, grubs, berries, and garbage. They can also carry rabies and other parasites. You can find out what to do after a skunk sprays and how to avoid skunk encounters here.
  • Squirrels: These are small rodents that are very common and visible in Toronto. They come in different colors, such as gray, black, and red. They are active during the day, and they feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, and sometimes bird eggs. They can be very agile and acrobatic, and they can also be very vocal. They can cause damage to trees, wires, and roofs. You can learn how to squirrel proof your home and more here.
  • Beavers: These are the national animal of Canada, and they thrive in the green waterways that Toronto has to offer. They are the largest rodents in North America, and they are known for their ability to build dams and lodges. They are mostly nocturnal, and they feed on bark, twigs, and aquatic plants. They can help create wetlands and improve water quality, but they can also cause flooding and damage to trees. You can read more about beavers and their role in the city here.
  • Peregrine Falcons: These are the fastest animals on the planet, and they can reach speeds of up to 322 kilometers per hour. They are raptors that prey on pigeons and other birds, and they can be seen soaring and diving in the sky. They nest on the roofs of skyscrapers and other tall buildings, and they are protected by law. You can learn more about peregrine falcons and how to support their conservation here.
  • Minks: These are small and sleek carnivores that belong to the same family as the beaver. They live near water, and they feed on fish, crustaceans, frogs, and small mammals. They are very elusive and rarely seen, but they are indicators of good water quality. They are also hunted for their fur, which is considered valuable. You can learn more about minks and their status in Canada here.

These are just some of the wildlife and animals that you can find in Toronto. There are many more, such as deer, opossums, bats, turtles, frogs, snakes, and over 400 species of birds. You can explore more about the fauna of Toronto from the sites linked at the end of the article. I hope you enjoyed learning about the amazing diversity of life in this city. Thanks to the contributing photographers. 

Photo Gallery

Canada Geese

One of the most iconic of the bird species found in Greater Toronto, throughout all seasons, though many migrate south during the winter.

Canada geese / Photo by Fabian Roudra Baroi via Wikipedia (link)

Mute Swans

These beautiful creatures are an invasive species. They’re also huge! Watch out for them when you’re at the lake!

Mute swans / Photo by Mykola Swarnyk via Wikimedia (link)


The common loon is the provincial bird of Ontario, and a bird species that breeds within Greater Toronto. In the city, you may find them when migrating stopped at places like Colonel Sam Smith Park, on Lake Ontario, in the city’s west end..

Loon / Photo by Matt MacGillivray via Wikipedia / Flickr (link)


Commonly found in the city’s plentiful watersheds, deer move throughout the GTA via the rivers and river valleys.

Deer in the Humber River area / Photo by Vlad Podvorny via Wikipedia (link)

Great Blue Heron

This huge bird makes appearances in marshy wetland areas around the city. Here we see the iconic bird in lovely High Park.

Great Blue Heron in Toronto / Photo by Ber’Zophus (link)

Resources and Links

Wildlife in the City – City of Toronto.

Wild Animals You Can Spot In Toronto | Culture Trip.

Fauna of Toronto – Wikipedia.

City of Toronto https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/9718-Biodiversity-MammalsBook-Division-Planning-And-Development-part1.pdf

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