While much of the big Killarney fauna captures our imagination, we’ve kept this post to a small handful of our favorites – big and small. You’ll have to come canoeing or hiking with us to see the rest.
Mammal: Black Bear
Scientific name: Ursus americanus
We once told a group of eight women that it was unlikely we would see a bear in Killarney’s backcountry (they’re known to be more habituated to humans in the car campground area). We’re a big group. We’re a bit noisy. They don’t want to see us. Mother Nature decided to prove us wrong the next morning. As we cooked breakfast, a black bear walked along the shore across from our Bell Lake campsite and crashed off into the bush when she caught wind of us. So now we say, “you never know!” along with the proper precautions.
Photo credit: Skeeze
Bird: Barred Owl
Scientific name: Strix varia
“Who cooks for you?” Hearing the barred owl call as the sun sets and twilight turns the sky purple makes us smile every single time.
Barred owls typically live in mixed, mature forests in Ontario (and have been in the province for over 11,000 years!). They prey on small mammals. Larger raptors may prey on it. They tend not to venture too far from where they’re born. Any homebody humans out there who can relate?
Photo credit: Fyn Kynd
Fish: Lake Trout
Scientific name: Salvelinus namaycush
Fishing is allowed in the park and you do need a license to do so. However lake trout, a cold water fish native to Ontario, are a protected species in Killarney Provincial Park and can only be fished in specific lakes. The fish have been present in northern North America for at least two million years. Most of them live deep in the lakes and we are unlikely to see them as we paddle through the park.
As a side note, if you’re ever interested in ant of the fish stocks of Ontario, this is a pretty neat interactive map.
Photo credit: Eric Engbretson
Reptile: Snapping Turtle
Scientific name: Chelydra serpentina
We’ve had good luck with snapping turtle sightings on our trips to Killarney. The turtle below welcomed us as soon as we landed at our Johnnie Lake campsite a few years back. And on our inaugural trip this July, we spent twenty minutes watching a snapping turtle patrol our David Lake campsite shores.
The pre-historic looking reptile sits as a special concern on the Species At Risk listing. It is easily recognizable as it is Canada’s largest freshwater turtle (and its long tail also gives it away).
Want more Killarney fauna?
We always have field guides with us, so if you see something interesting while on trip we can look it up.