8 Best Places to Spot Wildlife in Vancouver

wildlife in vancouver

Image courtesy of Kurt Bauschardt | flickr.com

Whether you’re in the air, near the water, or up a mountain, there’s a good chance that you’re surrounded by thousands of living creatures. Vancouver is teeming with wildlife, whether its majestic whales, stinky skunks, or mischievous squirrels.

If you’re interested in spotting wildlife in Vancouver, you’re in luck — because it’s pretty easy. Check out the list below for 8 common examples of wildlife in Vancouver and where to spot them. Just remember to keep your distance, because wildlife should stay wild!


Not quite as common as squirrels (which can be found in abundance at local parks), chipmunks are more often found in forest settings. Bring an extra granola bar with you on your next trip to Eagle Bluffs to share it with these cute, little chipmunks. They have become so used to humans that they will run right up to you and even go into your hands to get any little treats you provide.


bears in vancouver

Image from the Inside Vancouver Flickr Pool | Larissa Sayer


While bears look soft and cuddly, rest assured that they are the opposite. It’s best to view bears from a very safe distance. Bears in Vancouver are usually known as pests, especially in North Vancouver where they spend the evenings having garbage buffets on people’s front lawns. If you want to spot a bear, you may be lucky to see one lounging around the slopes of Cypress Mountain. Or, if you’d rather see bears from behind a fence, you can visit Grouse Mountain to see some grizzly bears up close without having to pack extra bear spray. 


seals in vancouver

Image courtesy of Allison Hill | Flickr.com


The “dogs of the sea” are a common sight in Vancouver and are most often seen near popular fishing areas. If you’re wandering around the seawall in Stanley Park or spending time near in Granville Island, chances are there is a seal nearby. Keep your eyes peeled for a black shiny head poking out of the water. While there are no guarantees for wildlife spotting, there’s a very good chance you’ll see a seal in Vancouver waters.


salmon in vancouver

Image courtesy of Eugene Kim | Flickr.com


While there has been a decrease in salmon in Vancouver over the years, there is still a population going strong in the rivers and oceans of British Columbia. If you’re not able to get out to see salmon spawning in the Lower Mainland or Squamish, one of the best places to see the spawning process in action is at the Capilano Fish Hatchery. There, you can watch salmon up close as they try and make it up a fish ladder to their final destination to lay their eggs. Full details about the Capilano Fish Hatchery are located here.


wildlife in vancouver dolphins

Image courtesy of Lee Gilbert | Flickr.com


It is rare to see dolphins in Vancouver unless you’re out on a boat. If you’re able to go on a charter, or rent a boat, you’ll have good luck finding dolphins in the Howe Sound during their migration period. There are many different species of dolphins that spend time near Vancouver, including Pacific White Sided Dolphins.


rabbits in kitsilano

Image courtesy of kxcd | Flickr.com

Wild Rabbits

Near Jericho Beach in Kitsilano, a large bramble bush is home to hundreds of rabbits who enjoy the safety that the thorny branches provide. These wild rabbits thrive in summertime but are usually around all year. They can be spotted sprinting around near the Jericho Sailing Centre, just past the tennis courts. Bring some lettuce or a few carrots and you should be able to draw out a few for a short visit.


wildlife in vancouver

Image courtesy of jenny downing | flickr.com


Similar to seals, herons are commonly seen near bodies of waters. Usually in early morning or late evenings, herons can be seen on beaches, waiting silently to catch a fish. However, if you go to the tennis courts near the pitch n’ putt in Stanley Park, there are trees that are full of herons squawking away. If you’re not a fan of nature, you can even watch them on Vancouver’s Heron Cam!


wildlife in vancouver

Image courtesy of Erica | Flickr.com


Deer like quiet places, so it is almost impossible to see any near Vancouver. If you want to spot Bambi, you’re going to have to take a little trip to the outskirts of North Vancouver, such as Deep Cove or the trails around Capilano Canyon. On the flip side, deer are so common on Gulf Islands such as Salt Spring that they are known as pests. So, if you want to see a deer up close, hop on a ferry over to a nearby Gulf Island and try to tour around on a bike – there’s a good chance you’ll come across a deer, or two, or three.


eagles in vancouver

Image courtesy of Thomas Quine | flickr.com

Bald Eagles

Brackendale near Squamish is a great day-trip away from Vancouver to spot eagles. Eagle viewing is at its peak from mid-December to mid-January but significant numbers of eagles may be present from mid-November to mid-February. Otherwise, eagles can be spotted in various locations around Vancouver, including Stanley Park, UBC, and West Vancouver.

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3 Responses to 8 Best Places to Spot Wildlife in Vancouver

  1. Erin Goosen

    Just want to add about the eagles. They can be viewed on the Harrison River from as early as late October/November till February depending on the level of the river and amount of salmon spawning. Just 90 mins from Vancouver, We get just as many eagles as Breckenridge, some years more. Boat tours go out daily from Harrison Hot Springs. Or there is a boat company from Mission. There is even a festival to celebrate this time of year, http://www.fraservalleyeaglefestival.com, http://www.tourismharrison.com. David Hancock has set up webcams both underwater and in the trees to capture the wildlife. Check out the festival website for links.

  2. garry


  3. Just saw seals this weekend at White Rock while Kayaking!!