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Wildlife & Nature

The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula's vast natural environment, including extensive forests and lakes, provides the perfect habitat for many species of wildlife. Encounters with wildlife are bound to happen, so it is important to take action to reduce any potentially threatening encounters and to respect local wildlife.

The Municipality does not enforce or respond to calls regarding wildlife, including bears, raccoons, skunks or snakes. Please contact the Ministry 1-866-514-2327 or the OPP 1-888-310-1122 regarding bear sightings or threatening encounters. 

Black Bears

In Ontario, black bears can range from black to cinnamon or brown in colour. All are considered black bears.

If you encounter a black bear:

Stop. Do not panic. Remain calm.

Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is, provided you do not approach. The noise is meant to “scare” you off and acts as a warning signal.

With careful management of your waste, you can reduce the chance of attracting bears to your property. Store waste and recyclables in a bear-resistant container, secure shed or garage. You are also encouraged to visit a Waste Disposal Site, especially if concerned about materials being left for collection overnight or for a number of hours. 

The MNR implements the Bear Wise Program.  This program provides information on preventing and reporting encounters with black bears.  Please call 1-866-514-2327 (April 1-November 30) if a bear is:

  • roaming around, checking garbage cans
  • breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored
  • in a tree
  • pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbecue
  • moving through a backyard or field but is not lingering

Massasauga Rattlesnake

The Massasauga is a stout-bodied rattlesnake, usually about 50 to 70 centimetres long. It is Ontario’s only venomous snake, though it will only bite in self-defence if it is threatened or harassed. It has a triangular head and a tail that ends in a small rattle that creates a buzzing sound when the tail shakes. The body is grey to dark brown with darker brown "butterfly" or "saddle-shaped" blotches down the back, with alternating blotches along the sides. The Massasauga is the only Ontario snake with a vertical (cat-like) pupil.

The Massasauga is a shy species, and will only strike if threatened or provoked. In almost all cases, Massasaugas will choose to escape or hide rather than strike. The Massasauga’s venom is meant to immobilize its prey (usually small mammals), and is not meant for humans. If a Massasauga does bite a human, it will sometimes choose not to inject any venom at all. 

If you are bitten by a Massasauga, you should always call 911, wash and cleanse the wound, and reduce movement until help arrives. Complications from Massasauga bites are rare.

Tips for hiking in rattlesnake country:

  • Wear shoes instead of sandals
  • Wear long pants
  • Stay on trails; do not step or reach into any crevices that you cannot see into.
  • If you spot a Massasauga, stay calm and do not approach it. Wait for the snake to move away from you, or adjust your route to avoid the snake.
  • Never chase, pick up, or harass any wildlife.
  • Keep pets on a leash.

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