Animals of Calgary

I haven’t been to the Calgary Zoo yet, because I am always a bit wary of watching animals locked up in cages. But then, I have seen so many wild animals walking around the city that I am beginning to wonder if the zoo might have an open-door policy.

One day, as I got up early, I saw a monstrous moose by the side of the road.


I don’t know if they are really dangerous, but the sheer size makes them appear quite intimidating. I was definitely happy that it was having breakfast and was thus less interested in me.

By the way, if anyone can explain the difference between a moose and an elk, I would be thankful. Not that I will be able to remember it, probably.

Much more numerous and definitely not dangerous are the deer.


Some of them even work in agriculture.


Other animals are just passing through, like the Canada geese. I was surprised to see them migrating south only in January, but they are an amazing sight (and sound), flying in large formations.

Canada geese.JPG

A particular phenomenon are white rabbits. They are all over town, and the story of their origin is quite peculiar. A few years ago, there was a magicians’ conference in Calgary. They performed tricks upon public demand and, as clichés are persistent, most people wanted the wizards to pull a white rabbit out of a hat. After a week, there were thousands of white rabbits roaming the streets.


Of course there are also plenty of squirrels.


Already on my first day in Calgary, walking in Nose Hill Park, I saw coyotes. A bit of a scary sight, at least for me, because I had never met them before and didn’t know how they would react. It turned out that they kept their distance.

coyote Nose Hill Park snow.JPG

Many people have warned me of coyotes, advising me to take baseball bats, hockey sticks or rifles with me as I go for walks. I never do that, of course, because most times, I even forget my glasses, my phone and my hat.

Also, it seems that fear of coyotes is more due to cultural heritage than realistically warranted, similar to the wolf in Europe. In Native American cultures, the coyote was an ambivalent creature, a trickster on the one hand, but also a hero or the creator’s sidekick. Anglo-Americans depicted the coyote as untrustworthy and cowardly, an image which seems to have stuck.

There have been attacks by coyotes on humans, but usually on small children. And many more humans get killed by dogs, other humans or cars.

One night, as I came home, there was a coyote hanging around the rubbish bins. I was startled at first, but the coyote seemed neither aggressive nor scared. It gave me time to take out my camera and then slowly walked away.

coyote Huntington Hills 1coyote Huntington Hills 2coyote Huntington Hills 3

And then there are lions, watching over the city at sunset,

lion Calgary sunset.JPG

and watching over me every night.

alice sweet


About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
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11 Responses to Animals of Calgary

  1. Edward Allen says:

    The last one is the scariest!

    • She is definitely the most possessive/protective.
      It used to be that she jumped on my lap as soon as I sat down, but now she doesn’t seem to like me writing/working anymore, so she keeps jumping on the desk and placing herself squarely in front of the computer.

  2. timburford says:

    The North American elk is much the same as a European red deer. But a Scandinavian elk is actually a moose. ok?

    • Bill says:

      This is correct. “Elk” is the cognate of the Spanish word “alce”, which North American dictionaries translate as “moose”.

      When the English arrived, they saw the animal they had always referred to as elk, referred to as moose by the Native Americans. So that word stuck.

      I understand that far, but then why they chose to apply the word “elk” within North America to another animal, I can’t really say.

    • At least now I understand why I was always confused.

  3. brokenradius says:

    So impressive to see how all the animals pose for your camera !!!! The deers, the rabbit, the squirrel and even the coyote seem to be quite aware that they soon will be in the social media.
    I am sure if you mount there a camara trap, they would all line up in a queue to shoot some selfies.

    • The deer were really holding still for quite some time, and the coyote didn’t mind it at all.
      Squirrels are actually the hardest ones to catch.
      And the cat seems bored by being photographed, as if saying: “Come on, I know I am beautiful. You don’t need to tell the whole world about it.”

  4. brokenradius says:

    Thats right. The cat was even a bit vain by chosing a chique background. You should tell her that the baroque sofa is a bit demode now.

  5. Dawn Renee says:

    Such beutiful creatures, all of them. I can’t understand how some would prefer to see their dead heads on their walls as murder trophies. These photos are fabulous! The coyote was so calm and intelligent!

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