18 Most DANGEROUS Animals in Saskatchewan! (2024)

What are the most dangerous animals found in Saskatchewan?

Types of dangerous animals in Saskatchewan

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.

18 Dangerous ANIMALS IN Saskatchewan:


#1. Prairie Rattlesnake

  • Crotalus viridis

Types of dangerous animals in Saskatchewan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults typically range between 3.3 and 5 feet in length.
  • Coloration is highly variable and can be greenish-gray, olive green, greenish-brown, light brown, or yellow. All variations have dark blotches on the body that turn into rings near the tail.
  • Broad triangular head, elliptical pupils, heat-sensing pits between the eyes and nostrils, and a tail rattle.

These venomous snakes can be found in Saskatchewan in open prairies, grasslands, semi-desert shrublands, and forested environments. They can even be found at elevations up to 9,500 feet!

Prairie Rattlesnake Range Mapprairie rattlesnake range map

When they feel threatened, these snakes will freeze, trying to use their camouflage to avoid detection. They may also quietly crawl away to cover. If approached, they coil and rattle their tail as a warning before striking. Their potent venom has both hemotoxic and neurotoxic properties, and although bites are rare, they can be fatal to an adult human.

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#2. Common Snapping Turtle

  • Chelydra serpentina

Types of dangerous animals in Saskatchewan

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 Saskatchewan.

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 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!

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#3. Black Widow

Types of dangerous animals in Saskatchewan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females are 6 to 19 mm long—shiny black with a distinctive red hourglass-shaped mark. A row of red spots is sometimes visible above.
  • Males are half the size of females.
  • Bristles on their hind legs, which they use to cover their prey with silk once it has been trapped.

Black Widows are the most venomous spiders in Saskatchewan!

In addition, this dangerous animal is one of the most recognizable spiders in the world. Almost everyone can recognize the red-shaped hourglass mark that appears on the females.

But even though they have highly toxic venom, 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake, they are not aggressive. Black Widows only bite when in danger or if their web is disturbed. They RARELY bite humans.

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But, if you are one of the few unlucky people who are bitten, you should go to the hospital immediately. The venom is dangerous, as it affects your nervous system.

Deaths to healthy adults are VERY rare, but the neurotoxic venom can be fatal to small children if untreated.

Only adult females are dangerous to humans, as males are too small to pierce our skin.

black widow northern

The best places to look for these venomous spiders in Saskatchewan include overhanging ledges, woodpiles, under benches or stones, near entrances to abandoned rodent burrows, or around outbuildings. Inside your home, they can be found in dimly lit locations, such as dark corners, closets, or other cluttered areas. They don’t like moisture and prefer dry areas.


#4. Mosquitos

Types of dangerous animals in Saskatchewan

Despite their small size, mosquitoes are arguably the most dangerous animal in Saskatchewan!

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!

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#5. Ticks

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 Saskatchewan.

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.

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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
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#6. Wasps (Yellowjackets and Hornets)

Wasps, or what most people in Saskatchewan 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.


#7. Coyote

  • Canis latrans

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 Saskatchewan!

 


#8. American Black Bear

  • Ursus americanus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 5 to 6 feet tall and weigh 200 to 600 pounds.
  • They have flat backs, small heads, rounded ears, and non-retractable claws.

American Black Bears occupy various habitats in Saskatchewan but generally prefer inaccessible terrain.

Black bears are sometimes considered a nuisance because they can damage cornfields, honeybee hives, and berry farms. In addition, they‘re easily attracted to garbage, bird feeders, and coolers. Make sure NEVER to feed them, as this can make the bear not afraid of humans, which is dangerous for both you AND the bear.

Generally, Black Bears are timid around people. Unlike grizzly bears, females with cubs rarely attack people, often just sending their cubs up a tree so that they can retreat safely.

Black Bears are naturally active in the evening and early morning but sometimes alter their activity patterns for food availability. Bears may become active during the day when garbage and other human food sources are available. Black Bears in campgrounds often develop nocturnal activity patterns.


#9. White-Tailed Deer

  • Odocoileus virginianus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 63 to 87 inches long and stand between 31 and 39 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Their coloring is tan or brown during the summer and grayish in winter, with white on the throat, chest, and the underside of the tail.
  • The males have antlers which they shed in the winter.

The reason we consider White-tailed Deer to be dangerous in Saskatchewan is because they’re so prevalent near roads and highways. They frequently cause car accidents because they often run across roads at night or dusk. So keep alert if you live in an area with a deer population, especially during spring and fall!

White-tailed Deer are found in various habitats in Saskatchewan. These large animals are common to see living near people as they are completely comfortable in suburban environments. The herd in my neighborhood is particularly fond of our bird feeders. They stop by for a snack almost every evening!


#10. Wild Boar

  • Sus scrofa

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 5 to 8 feet in length and weigh between 145 and 600 pounds.
  • Their thick, coarse hair ranges in color from black to reddish-brown.
  • They have large heads and necks and relatively short legs. Males have long bristly hairs down the middle of their backs and large canines that protrude from the mouths of adult males.

Wild Boars are invasive mammals in Saskatchewan, as they were introduced from overseas. Their population has exploded in the last 50-100 years, leading wildlife departments to implement population control programs.

Because of their aggressive nature and lack of fear, Wild Boars can be dangerous to livestock, humans, and pets. If you have a Wild Boar on your property or see one while you’re out and about, call your local animal control office for advice. DON’T try to approach this unpredictable animal!

These mammals are omnivores, and what they eat varies with season and location. They consume large amounts of plant matter, including fruits, nuts, roots, herbaceous plants, and crops. They also eat bird eggs, carrion, small rodents, insects, and worms. Their voracious appetite can be very detrimental to an ecosystem, causing a loss of plant diversity and extensive soil erosion.


#11. Rats

  • Genus: Rattus

Interestingly, brown and black rats (the most common types that cause disease) are not native to Saskatchewan. 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!


#12. 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.


#13. North American Porcupine

  • Erethizon dorsatum

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 2 to 3 feet long and weigh about 20 pounds.
  • Their fur ranges from brownish-yellow to black, with white highlights on their quills.
  • Porcupines are covered in approximately 30,000 hollow quills.

Porcupines are only dangerous if you try to pick one up. 🙂

They‘re well known for their sharp quills used for defense. When threatened, porcupines draw up the skin of their back, bristling so that the quills face all directions. The porcupine keeps its back to the predator and moves its tail back and forth. But, despite their effective defense, porcupines are still preyed on by fisher cats, coyotes, wolverines, and other predators that have adapted to hunting them.

Contrary to popular belief, porcupines can’t throw quills at their attacker!


#14. 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 Saskatchewan.

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!

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#15. Cougar

  • Puma concolor

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults stand 24 to 35 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 64 and 220 pounds.
  • Coloration ranges from reddish-brown to tawny or gray, with a black tip on their tail.
  • They have round heads, pointed ears, and powerful forequarters.

Their large hind legs and massive paws help give Cougars incredible athletic ability. They can jump 15 feet high and 40 feet in distance and sprint 50 miles per hour. Yet, despite their impressive speed, they generally wait and ambush prey.

While cougars don’t have any predators besides humans, they may get into territory conflicts with other large predators. Cougars dominate one-on-one confrontations with wolves but are weaker when confronting packs. Generally, brown and black bears can drive off cougars with little effort.

Unfortunately, their territorial nature can sometimes spill over into conflicts with humans. In particular, mothers with young cubs are known to stalk and lunge at hikers.

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You may know this dangerous animal by a different name depending on where you live. While Cougar seems to be the most common, these large cats are also known as catamount, mountain lion, puma, ghost cat, and panther.


#16. American Bison

  • Bison bison

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults stand up to 6 feet tall, and males can weigh more than one ton while females reach 900 pounds.
  • They have long, deep brown fur, cloven hooves, and a noticeable hump over their shoulders.
  • Both males and females have short, curved, hollow horns that can grow up to 2 feet.

Bison can be dangerous animals if they are approached.

These animals are large and agile. If you don’t respect their space, they won’t hesitate to charge. They can easily break bones and trample humans. Every year, many people get hurt trying to get a “selfie” with a Bison!

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So, always remember to keep a safe distance and remain respectful of these animals.

Bison are well adapted to the changing seasons across their range. They’re constantly on the move, walking even while eating. To forage during the winter, they use their large heads to sweep aside the snow. During summer, Bison often wallow, rolling on the ground and creating shallow depressions in the soil. Wallowing helps them to cool off and soothe insect bites.

American Bison were once widespread, but by 1900, as few as 1,000 bison remained. While some Bison were hunted for food, most were killed for sport and to drive out Native American groups that relied on Bison as settlers expanded westward. Finally, in the 1900s, they received federal wildlife protection and were brought back from the brink of extinction. Today, approximately 31,000 wild bison are found on federally protected lands and reserves.


#17. Elk

  • Cervus canadensis

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults stand 4.5 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh between 400 and 800 pounds.
  • Their coloring is light brown with a dark brown shaggy mane from neck to chest in winter and reddish-brown in summer.
  • They have thick bodies, short tails, and long legs, and bull (male) Elk grow massive antlers yearly.

The Elk is one of the largest mammals in Saskatchewan.

They can be found in deciduous woodlands, boreal forests, mountainous areas, and grasslands. Most populations migrate seasonally. During the spring, they follow the retreating snow, traveling to higher elevations to graze. In the fall, they return to lower elevations and wooded areas that afford greater food availability.

You should never approach Elk because they are dangerously unpredictable.

In fall and winter, males are belligerent and territorial while they search for mates. Then, in the spring, females become the aggressors as they look after their young. No matter the season, you should keep your distance and observe these dangerous animals from afar.


#18. 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 Saskatchewan! 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 Saskatchewan.
  • 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 Saskatchewan?

Check out these ID Guides!


Which of these dangerous animals in Saskatchewan have you seen?

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