Frisky Foxes

These beautiful creatures were recently captured on film whilst on a trip through the Maritimes. As red as the sands it walks upon and silver as the top of the waves, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we drove through Cavendish National Park last Monday August 5th, 2012 around 17h00. Laying beside the road taking a nap, walking up to cars begging for food, or just playing in the sun, there were about two dozen red foxes. The top predator on the island, foxes have become as abundant on PEI as deer in Ontario. Other mammals endemic to PEI include:

  • Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
  • Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)
  • Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)
  • Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)
  • Meadow Vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus)
  • Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys gapperi)
  • Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)
  • Least Weasel (or ermine) (Mustela rixosa)
  • Water Shrew (Sorex palustris)
  • Short-tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda)
  • Woodland Jumping Mouse (Napaeozapus insignis)
  • Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus hudsonius)
  • American Mink (Mustela vison)
  • Muskrat (Ondatra zibethica)
  • Red Fox (Vulpes fulva)
  • Little Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

Introduced or Recent Arrivals

  • Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
  • Eastern Coyote (Canis latrans)
  • Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
  • Beaver (Castor canadensis)
  • Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)
  • House mouse (Mus musculus)

Extinct to PEI

  • Marten (Martes americana) – According to early French and British records, marten’s were common in abundance although they were shy, seldom seen animals. Marten fur was prized and by late nineteenth century, they are gone from any records.
  • Lynx (Lynx canadensis) – Known as the “wild cat” or “lucifee” by the french, the lynx was viewed negatively as there were reports of lynx attacking farm livestock. A bounty was placed on lynx in the 1820’s and by 1890, they were unknown on the Island.
  • Woodland Caribou (Rangifer caribou)
  • Moose (Alces alces) – Interesting to note that there are no written records of moose ever occuring on PEI. Considering people were aware of moose in NB and NS, it’s absence from the written records we know of so far is interesting.
  • American Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
  • River Otter (Lutra canadensis) – During the French period, it was believed otters were common in the many bays and harbours around the Island. However, being a prized fur with high monetary value, otters were quickly trapped to expiration on the Island.
  • Fisher (Martes pennanti) – Again, according to the written records so far, there is no mention of fisher occuring on PEI
  • Wolf (Canis lupis) – Early french records indicate that wolfs were present on PEI, however in low numbers. The last mention of wolf on PEI is 1721

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