In the picturesque landscapes of Newfoundland, a tapestry of wildlife awaits, from the grandeur of moose to the playful antics of whales. Here's a quick peek into some of the fascinating creatures you may encounter while exploring the East Coast Trail:
As the largest land mammals in North America, moose are a common sight in Newfoundland's forests and woodlands. These herbivores feast on leaves, twigs, and bark. While they are often solitary, winter can bring them together in small groups.
Despite the abundance of suitable moose habitats in Newfoundland, excessive numbers can lead to the depletion of their plant-based diet. Moose, weighing between 350-550kg, can consume up to 30kg of food daily.
Newfoundland is also home to black bears, with the local species (Ursus americanus hamiltoni) being a distinct subspecies due to their unique head shape and size, genetic diversity, and larger body size compared to other North American black bears.
These bears are scattered throughout the province, excluding the rarely visited Avalon Peninsula. In Newfoundland and Labrador, black bears have a smaller home range of 60-250 km² compared to their counterparts in the United States, who roam areas between 100-2,000 km². They are most active during dawn and dusk, with those living near humans often turning nocturnal.
Since their arrival in the mid-1980s, coyotes have become a common sight in Newfoundland. These opportunistic predators feast on small mammals, birds, and carrion. While they are mostly active at night, daytime sightings are not uncommon.
Interactions with humans are rare, but they can occur if coyotes associate humans with food.
Newfoundland was once home to its own wolf population, now considered extinct since around 1930. Local tales, however, suggest the existence of large coyotes or coyote crosses, hinting at possible remnants of the Newfoundland Wolf.
Since 2013, 11 confirmed hybrids resulting from coyotes mating with migrating Grey Wolves from Labrador have been found. A notable example is the hybrid trapped near Lewis Lake by Kevin Strowbridge, known as the "Botwood beast."
See the tale of the: Botwood beast
Tips for Hikers:
Stay alert and make noise to avoid surprising wildlife.
Do not approach or feed wildlife, as it can alter their natural behavior and increase aggression.
Keep dogs on a leash to prevent chasing or potential injuries from wildlife encounters.
Fear not about snakes - a rare garter snake was found on the west coast in 2010, but such incidents are extremely uncommon.
You'll be pleased to know ticks aren't an issue either.
Newfoundland's wildlife is a testament to nature's variety and adaptability. So strap on those hiking boots and get ready for a remarkable journey into the wild!