Facts and How-to's

Canada’s National Animals: 8 Interesting Facts To Know

In the heart of the Canadian wilderness, two extraordinary beings command attention with their awe-inspiring abilities and captivating stories. One is a tireless architect, reshaping entire ecosystems with their unwavering work ethic and unparalleled engineering prowess. The other is a noble steed steeped in centuries of history and revered for its indomitable spirit, unmatched strength, and unwavering loyalty. Together, they embody the essence of Canada, weaving tales of wonder and fascination. These beings are none other than the beaver and the Canadian horse, beloved national animals of Canada. Yes, Canada has 2 national animals, and as we embark on a journey to unravel the mystique surrounding these remarkable creatures, we will uncover astonishing facts about their unique attributes, ecological impact, cultural significance, and conservation status, revealing the profound mark they have left on Canadian heritage and the natural world.

1. Fascinating Facts About The Beaver and The Canadian Horse!

1.1. Historical Significance

The historical significance means how the animals have been valued by the ancestors in the past time and how it was an important part of the ecosystem at that time. Its historical significance is as follows.

1.1.1.  Beavers

Image by Siegfried Poepperl from Pixabay

In the late 1660s and early 1600s, fashion demanded fur hats and required pelts. As these hats and beaver pelts were gaining popularity, they grew in popularity.

Henry IV viewed fur markets as acquiring the necessary revenue and creating the North American Empire. The German-born fur market immediately started importing beavers and selling beaver pelts in Europe at a price 20-fold higher than the original. Many Canadians have been inspired by the success of the beaver pelt trade.

1.1.2. Canadian Horse

Image by shyanni from Pixabay

As for the Canadian Horse, it has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century when horses were brought to Canada by French settlers. These horses were used to establish the first North American horse breeding industry, which was based in Quebec. These horses were developed from a combination of French and English breeds, with some influence from Native American horses as well.

1.2. Significance of National Symbol

The significance of the National symbol is as follows:

1.2.1. Beaver

Image by Steve Raubenstine from Pixabay

On 24 February 1975, the beavers were proclaimed Canada’s national species. The beaver has played a significant role as part of the identity of Canada for many years. Still, on this day, it became the national animal with the introduction of the Symbols Act of Canada. It was chosen due to its historical and economic importance in Canadian history and its reputation as a hard-working and industrious creature. This creature appeared on Canadian nickel and was featured on the first Canadian postage stamp in 1851.

During the early days of Canada’s development, a specific coin was created for business transactions that held the same value as one male beaver pelt. This coin was known as the ‘buck‘ and was predominantly used by European settlers in Canada. The ‘buck‘ coin represented a significant development in Canada’s economy, as it provided a standardized means of trade and exchange, which was essential in a rapidly growing country. The coin’s value was equivalent to that of a male beaver pelt, which was a highly prized commodity in the fur trade industry and played a significant role in shaping Canada’s history.

1.2.2. Canadian Horses

According to Canadian history, it is widely believed that Canadian horses played a crucial role in the country’s victory during the war. These horses were highly valued for their strength, endurance, and adaptability, making them ideal for transportation, communication, and even combat purposes. With its ability to navigate difficult terrain and withstand harsh weather conditions, Canadian horses were considered essential assets in wartime situations. As a result, their contribution to the war effort is often credited as a significant factor in Canada’s success during this time. While Canadian horses were once primarily used for farming, their use has now expanded to include riding and driving as well.

1.3. Physical Characteristics

The physical characteristics mean the overall appearance of the animal and the attributes it holds to be different from the rest of the animals, in short, the qualities which make the animal special. The physical characteristics of the Beavers and Canadian horses follow.

1.3.1. Beaver

Beavers are the second-largest rodent in the world, behind the Capybara. They can weigh up to 60 pounds and grow up to 4 feet in length, including their wide, flat tail. These creatures are excellent swimmers and can remain underwater for up to 15 minutes. They can also hold their breath while gnawing on trees or carrying branches underwater. The front teeth of beavers never stop growing, so they must constantly gnaw on wood to keep them worn down. Beavers have strong jaw muscles and can cut through trees up to 3 feet in diameter. Their tails are flat and wide, making them excellent swimming and diving tools. It also serves as a rudder when the beaver is carrying branches or other materials in its mouth.

1.3.2. Canadian Horses

One of the distinguishing features of the Canadian Horse is its strength and endurance. It is a medium-sized horse that stands between 14.2 and 16 hands high, and stallions average 1,050 to 1,350 pounds in weight, while mares weigh 1,000 to 1,250 pounds (450 to 570 kg). It has a compact body, strong legs, and a thick, long mane and tail. They are known for their hardiness and adaptability, which make them well-suited for the harsh Canadian climate. The scientific name of the Canadian horse breed is Equus ferus caballus.

1.4. Engineering Skills

1.4.1. Beavers

Beavers are known for their impressive engineering skills. They construct dams across streams and rivers by piling up branches, logs, and mud, creating deep ponds behind them. These ponds help protect beavers from predators and provide a habitat for a variety of aquatic plants and animals. These wetlands are crucial for supporting a diverse range of plant and animal life and helping filter and clean water. Without them, many wetland ecosystems would suffer, and many species would be negatively impacted.

1.4.2.. Canadian Horses

As Canada grew and expanded, the Canadian Horse became an important asset in the agricultural and logging industries. It was used to plow fields, haul logs, and transport goods and people. They were also used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who relied on the breed for transportation and patrol duties.

1.5. Family Structure

1.5.1. Beavers

Beavers are social animals and are known to live in family groups, which are typically composed of a breeding pair, their offspring, and occasionally, older offspring who have not yet established their territories. Within these groups, beavers display complex communication behaviors and can convey information through a variety of vocalizations, including whistles, grunts, and tail slap. These vocalizations serve as a means of maintaining social cohesion within the group, coordinating activities, and alerting others to potential threats or dangers. By utilizing a range of vocalizations, beavers can establish a complex and sophisticated system of communication that allows them to navigate their environment effectively and thrive in their habitats. Beavers exhibit monogamous behavior and form life-long partnerships. Their reproductive cycle involves giving birth to a single litter of 2-4 kids during the spring season, once per year.

1.5.2. Canadian Horses

The family structure of the Canadian Horse, and all horses, is based on a strong social bond between individuals within the group. The mares are responsible for teaching their offspring important social and survival skills, such as how to find food and water, how to interact with other horses, and how to avoid danger. In equine societies, such as those found in wild horse herds, a hierarchy is established within the group to maintain order and ensure survival. The hierarchy is typically led by a dominant mare, who assumes a leadership role in the herd. This mare is responsible for leading the group and making important decisions that are essential for the safety and survival of the herd. The dominant mare is often an older, experienced female who has established her position through years of successful leadership and demonstrated her ability to make decisions that benefit the group as a whole. By assuming a leadership role, the dominant mare can maintain order within the herd, prevent conflicts, and keep the group focused on the task of survival. Through her leadership, the dominant mare can ensure that the group can effectively navigate its environment, find food and water sources, and protect itself from potential predators.

Within the herd, there are several family groups, or bands, which consist of a dominant mare and her offspring. The band typically consists of the mare’s current foal and any previous offspring that have not yet left the group. These family bands stay together for several years until the young horses reach maturity and leave to form their bands. Male horses, known as stallions, typically live in separate groups from the mares and their foals. They may form small bachelor herds or live alone until they are mature enough to challenge a dominant stallion and form their family band.

1.6. Conservation Efforts

Image by David Peterson from Pixabay

1.6.1. Beavers

Due to their importance in Canadian history and their critical role in wetland ecosystems, beavers are protected under Canadian law. They are also considered keystone species, meaning that their presence in an ecosystem has a significant impact on the other species in that ecosystem.

1.6.2. Canadian Horses

Several initiatives have been established to conserve the breed, including the Canadian Horse Heritage and Preservation Society, which focuses on educating the public about the breed and its conservation. The society also manages a herd of Canadian Horses to ensure the breed’s genetic diversity is preserved. Conservation efforts also involve researching the breed’s genetics and health to enhance the overall health and well-being of the breed. This research encompasses studying the breed’s genetic variation, identifying potential health risks, and creating breeding programs to mitigate these risks.

1.7. Adaptability

1.7.1. Beavers

Canadian beaver is a highly adaptable creature and can live in a range of habitats, including streams, rivers, and even small ponds. They are found throughout North America and are also found in Europe and Asia. It is estimated that the beaver population is 10 to 18 million.

1.7.2. Canadian Horses

As for horses, there are 4000 to 5000 horses in Canada. Breeders have been successful in breeding Canadian horses that meet the desired traits and characteristics. This has resulted in a healthier and more genetically diverse population of Canadian horses. These horses are renowned for their remarkable adaptability to different environmental conditions. They are highly versatile and have been known to thrive in a variety of different climates, including the often harsh and challenging Canadian weather. They are well-equipped to survive in cold temperatures, thanks to their thick, shaggy coats, which provide insulation and protection from the elements. Furthermore, these horses are known to be hardy and resilient and can withstand extreme weather conditions such as heavy snowfall and freezing rain. Their ability to adapt to their environment is one of the reasons why Canadian horses are highly valued by breeders and horse enthusiasts alike. They can provide reliable and versatile performance, regardless of the weather or environmental conditions.

1.8.  Food

1.8.1. Beavers

Beavers are herbivores and feed mainly on the bark, leaves, and twigs of trees such as aspen, willow, and birch. They also eat aquatic plants and can store branches and twigs in a cache underwater for winter use. They are particularly fond of aspen and willow trees. Their specialized digestive system allows them to extract nutrients from tough, fibrous plant material. They have a large cecum, a pouch containing bacteria that can break down cellulose, the main component of plant cell walls. This allows them to digest and extract nutrients from tough plant material that other animals cannot.

1.8.2. Canadian Horses

As for Canadian horses, they eat hay and horse feed like grass and green plants. Compared to other breeds of horses, these horses do not eat as much. They eat high-quality food.

2. Conclusion

The beaver, known as the second largest animal in the population, is a semi-aquatic mammal that is well-known for its capability to build dams and lodges. These are intriguing creatures that have a vital role in the ecosystem by creating and sustaining wetland habitats that benefit numerous other species. Canadian horses are now used for a variety of purposes, such as pleasure riding, competitive trail riding, and driving. These horses are known for their strength, versatility, and hardiness, which makes them attractive to horse breeders, farmers, and horse enthusiasts, which leads to increased demand for these horses and their population. In conclusion, the beaver and the Canadian horse are national symbols of Canada that hold significant cultural, historical, and ecological importance. Their roles in Canadian history and development, as well as their value as important species in Canada’s ecosystems, make them both worthy of national pride and national emblem status. As Canadians continue to celebrate and cherish these national animals, they are reminded of the unique and valuable wildlife and heritage of their country. Click here to see more information.



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