10 DANGEROUS Animals on Prince Edward Island! (2023)

What are the most dangerous animals found in Prince Edward Island?

Types of dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island

It can be hard to decide what to consider dangerous. For example, you may consider an animal that bites or stings dangerous, but someone else is more worried about animals that cause car accidents! So with that in mind, I tried to include a mix of creatures that are dangerous for different reasons.

Remember that no matter what animal you encounter, it’s likely more scared than you are. Animals don’t want to mess with us, and it’s best to leave them alone and give them the space they deserve.

10 Dangerous ANIMALS IN Prince Edward Island:

#1. Common Snapping Turtle

  • Chelydra serpentina

Types of dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island

Identifying Characteristics:

  • They weigh 10 to 35 lbs. and grow 8 to 18.5 inches long.
  • The snapping turtle has a long tail, chunky head, and large webbed feet.
  • The carapace (upper shell) coloring is black, brown, or olive with no distinct pattern.

These prehistoric-looking reptiles are widespread throughout Prince Edward Island.

Look for them living in marshes, lakes, ponds, rivers, and slow streams. They prefer areas with plenty of aquatic vegetation to hide in and insects, fish, frogs, and birds to eat.

Snapping Turtle Range Map

Credit: Virginia Herpetological Society

Snapping Turtles are best known for their powerful jaws. While there aren’t any recorded incidents of one of their bites causing amputation to a person, it can cause infections serious enough to require an amputation. In fact, their jaws are so strong that snapping turtles commonly eat other turtles!

These reptiles are usually docile but will become very aggressive if removed from the water. One of the best ways to calm an aggressive individual is to place it back into the water, where it can feel safe. I know I have personally picked them up with a large snow shovel to get them off the road and back to safety!

#2. Mosquitos

Types of dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island

Despite their small size, mosquitoes are arguably the most dangerous animal in Prince Edward Island!

These small, blood-eating flies are a nuisance all over the world. And while some species don’t bother humans, while others can be dangerous carriers of different types of disease.

For example, some mosquito species are vectors for diseases like malaria, dengue fever, Zika, or West Nile Virus. Other species target pets or livestock, transmitting heartworm, Equine Encephalitis, and other diseases that affect animals.

There are three main ways to prevent mosquitos from spreading disease:

  • Eradicating or controlling the population of mosquitos prevents the spread of diseases at the source.
  • Vaccines or prophylactic drugs can help curb infection rates, even if people or animals are still bitten by mosquitos.
  • Mosquito netting, insecticides, and bug repellents can be used to keep mosquitos away and prevent bites in the short term.

All of these options work quite well, but using them all in tandem is the best way to stay safe from mosquito-borne illness. Always make sure you wear insect repellent when you hike or camp!

#3. Ticks

Types of dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Ticks are round insects with an elongated “snout-like” mouth and eight legs.
  • Their coloring varies from brown to black, sometimes with reddish or white markings.
  • These insects drink blood, and their bodies swell as they become full.

Ticks are definitely one of the most dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island.

These blood-eating creatures sometimes live indoors, but they’re most commonly found in grassy or wooded areas with water nearby. They wait on tall grasses for a host to pass, then jump onto the living creature and attach to start feeding.

Different types of ticks prefer different hosts, but in general, a tick will attach itself to any blood source, including domestic dogs, livestock, stray pets, birds, and, of course, humans. Interestingly, a few species can live for years without a source of blood.

These insects are considered dangerous animals because they can spread disease when they pierce your skin. Although there isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s accepted that the longer a tick is attached, the higher the risk of infection. So if you notice a tick on your skin, you should remove it with a tick key, wash the area with soap and water, and contact your doctor.

Types of dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island

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Some of the most common tick-borne diseases are:

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: high fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches, and rash
  • Tularemia: bite infection, fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Tick Paralysis: respiratory distress, paralysis
  • Powassan Virus: brain infection (encephalopathy) leading to death
  • Lyme Disease: Fatigue, headache, joint and muscle pain, fever, and chills
  • Alpha-gal: delayed allergic reaction to meat, including anaphylaxis
  • Various canine and equine diseases, which can harm pets and livestock

#4. Wasps (Yellowjackets and Hornets)

Types of dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island

Wasps, or what most people in Prince Edward Island call Yellow Jackets or Hornets, are species of insects that have a reputation for being angry, aggressive, and targeting humans. So it’s no wonder they’re considered dangerous animals! These stinging insects can be a nuisance and a real pain (literally).

Remember, though wasps are aggressive and can be unwelcome picnic guests, they’re still important pollinators. So, unless they’re nesting in a dangerous area or preventing you from enjoying your yard, try to give them space to continue “bee-ing” themselves. 😉

Here are a few key ways to tell wasps apart from bees:

A. What they eat: Wasps are carnivorous hunters and scavengers. While they’re attracted to sweet things like flower nectar and your open soda can, they want to eat the OTHER insects that are also looking for a meal.

B. How they act: Generally, wasps like yellow jackets and hornets are much more aggressive than most types of bees. They will buzz close to humans and even ram into us, looking for a meal or marking their territory. If they feel threatened or provoked, they will sting as well. This can cause an anaphylactic or allergic reaction in some people.

C. Their appearance: Wasps have some specific traits that make them easily identifiable compared to most bees. Instead of hair, they have spines on their legs, which are long and often bright yellow. In addition, their bodies are elongated, and the space between their thorax and abdomen is narrowed, giving them the look of a tiny waist.

#5. Coyote

  • Canis latrans

Types of dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range in length from 3 to 4.5 feet and weigh between 15 and 44 pounds.
  • Their coloring is grayish to yellow-brown on top with white underparts.
  • They have bushy tails, large, triangular ears, narrow muzzles, black noses, and yellow eyes.

Sometimes, a Coyote will go after pets like small dogs or cats, but only if they’re left unattended. The best way to avoid Coyotes is to keep your pets on a leash outside and bring them in before dusk.

Sadly, Coyotes are commonly hunted and trapped for fur and sport. Many people incorrectly assume these animals are dangerous to humans, but this isn’t the case.

Coyotes have a large range in North America and are found in various habitats, from the tropics to the tundra. Coyotes expanded their range after European settlers’ near extermination of wolves and cougars.

As with habitat, Coyotes are highly versatile in their food selection. Despite being primarily carnivorous, they consume various plants, including berries, grass, and food crops. They will eat almost anything, and this extensive menu allows them to thrive in nearly every environment in Prince Edward Island!

#6. Rats

  • Genus: Rattus

Interestingly, brown and black rats (the most common types that cause disease) are not native to Prince Edward Island. They’re thought to have originated in the eastern hemisphere and were brought here through trade routes. Living in a highly populated city makes you more likely to see a Brown Rat. Black Rats, on the other hand, usually live in agricultural and farming communities.

Even though both species are still common, in many areas where the Black Rat was once the dominant species, the Brown Rat has taken over. Black Rats are slightly smaller and reproduce less often, two reasons this species isn’t as widespread as Brown Rats.

Most people consider rats of any species to be pests, both in the agricultural market and in homes and cities. Like other rodents, Black and Brown Rats can carry pathogens in their bodies. While they may not appear sick, they can spread infections like toxoplasmosis, typhus, and bubonic plague. Avoid handling wild rats, and be especially careful of their bite!

#7. White-footed Deer Mouse

  • Peromyscus leucopus

Like most other mice, this species is a vector, which means they can carry and spread disease.

Many rodents can carry disease-causing pathogens without getting sick, making them ideal carriers for these germs. For example, White-footed Mice transmit Hantavirus and the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

White-footed Deer Mice are one of the most likely species you will find in your attic, garage, or basement. Even though they can spread disease, contamination isn’t very common in homes.

This is the species I’ve found in my house, and I use a live trap and release them in a field a few miles away. Here’s the trap that I use!

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#8. Moose

  • Alces alces

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults stand about six feet at the shoulder and weigh over 1,000 pounds.
  • Their coloring is generally dark brown. Cows (females) have light brown face and a white patch of fur beneath the tail.
  • Moose have flaps of skin called dewlaps hanging from their throats, and bulls (males) grow massive antlers up to six feet across in the spring and summer.

Moose, the largest member of the deer family, only thrive in colder climates due to their massive size and insulated fur. In addition, their hair is hollow, helping to trap air and provide maximum insulation. Their ideal habitat includes a mix of mature and young trees, which provides abundant forage.

Female Moose, called cows, are known to aggressively defend their young, which often have a high mortality rate until they turn one. Mothers have been known to injure or kill grizzly bears, wolves, black bears, and even people in defense of their babies. If you encounter a Moose with babies, stay as far away as possible to avoid injury.

Bull Moose are also incredibly aggressive during the fall rut and can be proved to attack.

Moose are highly susceptible to the effects of climate change. Warmer winters have resulted in higher tick infestations, causing Moose to die of blood loss and anemia. Tick infestations are believed to be the main cause of Moose populations dropping 40% in the last decade.

#9. Striped Skunk

  • Mephitis mephitis

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 18 to 32 inches long.
  • Their coloring is black with two thick white stripes running down the back and tail and a thin white stripe from the snout to the forehead.
  • They have a bushy black tail, small triangular heads, short ears, and black eyes.

Striped Skunks have the worst reputation of any animal in Prince Edward Island.

They’re best known for their unique defense system. A Striped Skunk will first stomp its feet or handstand as a warning when threatened. Then, if they aren’t heeded, the skunk bends its hindquarters to face the animal and releases its smelly defensive spray. While it may not be technically dangerous, the unpleasant, oily liquid can reach up to 20 feet and may cause nausea, intense pain, and temporary blindness.

Despite their foul odor, Striped Skunks provide benefits to humans in the form of pest control. In the summer, they’re largely insectivorous and feed heavily on grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and bees. The best thing to do if you see a skunk is to give it space. They usually move on quickly when they notice humans!

Striped Skunks have stable and abundant populations. However, some local populations have been affected by rabies outbreaks. In addition, Striped Skunks face threats from severe weather, chemical exposure, and vehicle collisions.

These small mammals are typically very common in suburban areas but are rarely seen because they are nocturnal. As seen below, they often visit bird feeders to eat leftover seeds on the ground!

#10. Domestic Dogs

  • Canis familiaris

There’s a good reason why dogs are considered “man’s best friend.”

They’re one of the most popular pets in Prince Edward Island! However, usually due to poor training or mistreatment, dogs can easily become dangerous animals.

No matter what breed, size, or disposition, any domesticated dog has the potential to hurt a human. For example, if you don’t pay attention to a dog’s warning cues, it may become defensive and bite or jump to get you to back off.

To ensure you stay safe, never approach a dog you don’t know, and always ask its owner before you greet it. If you have a dog yourself, don’t leave it unsupervised with children or strangers to decrease the risk of accidental conflict. Finally, and most importantly, learn to follow your dog’s lead regarding their social cues. A dog that feels threatened is always dangerous, no matter how loyal they are!

Here are some statistics about dog bites from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

  • More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in Prince Edward Island.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
  • Children are the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.

The interesting thing about dogs is how we’ve grown so accustomed to them over time, most people have no fear of these lovable animals. But, statistically, you’re much more likely to be injured by a dog than by any of the other animals on this list! So next time you come across a “dangerous” wild animal, remember that you should respect it instead of hurting it out of fear.

Do you want to learn about MORE animals in Prince Edward Island?

Check out these ID Guides!

Which of these dangerous animals in Prince Edward Island have you seen?

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