16 ways to protect your garden in a drought without being wasteful

I vividly remember the first drought I ever experienced.

It was in 2012 with what seemed like a never-ending heat wave in Ontario. It was also the year I decided to plant my first veggie garden on my own. Spoiler alert – it did not survive.

I remember the grass being the first to go; it dried up completely and felt burnt to a crisp from the sun. Then the cracks started forming in the soil. It was so dry that the ground turned hydrophobic – meaning that the soil repelled all watering attempts the way a dry sponge does when water is poured on. Then *sob* my veggie garden died – it didn’t stand a chance.

We were on a drilled-well so we had to stop watering the veggie garden and flowers to not waste water. Next up, natural ponds and marshes started to dry up completely in our area. It was something I had never seen before! It’s been a few years since this drought and I’ve learned a few things that I will surely implement in my next garden. Fingers crossed the next veggie garden fares better than the last!

Do’s and Don’ts

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep your garden green without using too much water in a drought!

  1. Do prioritize established plants. Existing plants root systems are more established under the soil and will require less water compared to freshly planted plants.
  2. Do plant and prioritize native plants and wildflowers. Native plants like Milkweed, Echinacea and Purple Prairie Clover, Rattlesnake Master, Brittle Prickly-Pear, Hoary Vervain, etc. tend to be more drought-resistant. It also provides crucial sources of food and shelter for pollinators, beneficial insect and critters, who would be in dire need in a drought.
  3. Do check up on your plants. Cut away dead flowers and leaves from plants to help conserve energy in drought conditions.
  4. Do water deeply and frequently. Avoid hydrophobic soil in your garden by practicing long, deep watering until soil is hydrated then ease up. It does seem counter intuitive to slowly water the soil for longer periods in a drought. You will reduce water waste over time by watering more deeply and slowly and using a drip irrigation to provide maximum moisture with minimum waste.
  5. Don’t get too attached to your lawn. Lawns are more decorative. Reconsider your need to water the lawn. It may go brown during extreme heat but this is usually a period of dormancy rather than a dead lawn.
  6. Do start with good soil. Work in compost every year to give it some extra nutrition and to help retain moisture.

spreading mulch in a garden

  1. Do add mulch. Add mulch to exposed areas throughout the garden to reduce evaporation. It will also maintain a healthier temperature for plant roots during hot summers so plants can better withstand periods of drought. As a bonus, mulch also prevents erosion and suppresses competing weeds.
  2. Do help pollinators. Add a small bowl of water in shaded parts of garden with rocks to allow beneficial insects and pollinators to rest on while getting a sip of water.
  3. Don’t fertilize your garden during an active drought. Fertilizing encourages your garden to grow and this requires water.
  4. Do use rainwater. Set up a rain barrel to capture any rainfall from eaves troughs to use for watering.
  5. Do repurpose wasted water (gray water). Rinsing grapes or potatoes? What about letting the water run for a few seconds (or minutes) waiting for it to get hot? Use sink basins to collect this water for your garden! Alternatively, installing a gray water systems make double the usage of the water you use to wash the dishes or clothes. A win-win!

irrigation

  1. Do water in the early morning. This will help reduce evaporation and prevent leaf scorching from water droplets in the sun. Morning watering also gives the plants a chance to dry before night sets in. This helps prevent pests that are attracted to very moist environments, like slugs and fungi.
  2. Do pull out the weeds. It’s especially important during a drought because weeds roots can steal valuable moisture from the soil.
  3. Don’t plant during peak drought as these plants will need more regular watering to become established.
  4. Do direct watering. For a plant that needs more water, try sticking a water bottle with the base removed into the soil near the plant and water through the top of the bottle. Using this technique, water will be channeled specifically to that plant’s root system.
  5. Do prepare for next year. We can’t predict what kind of weather we’ll experience in upcoming summers but we can prepare for a potential drought from digging in compost in the soil in the fall, planting specific drought-resistant native shrubs, plants and wildflowers in anticipation of a drought.

Did we miss any gardening tips? Tell us your tried and true tips!

Five Ways Nature Can Boost Your Health and Happiness

Nature is one of the best healers around when it comes to mental and physical health.

And it takes only 20 minutes outdoors to reap its benefits. Here are five scientifically-proven reasons why you need to head outdoors today and every day.

1. It’ll improve your mental health

monarch womanBeing in and around nature lowers the heart rate and creates a sense of inner peace and happiness. According to researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, it takes only 20 minutes outdoors to reap the benefits of feeling happier. In the study, 64 per cent of the 94 participants showed an increase in life satisfaction after 20 minutes in a park.

2. It’ll boost your physical health too

biking sunrise

Give your immune system a little boost by spending some time outdoors, from getting your daily vitamin D dose to exposure to a variety of bacteria from grass dust and dirt. Vitamin D is particularly helpful to keep our muscles, bones and teeth healthy.

3. It’ll help you tackle stress

woman outside stress free

Feeling tired, stressed or stuck? Take a break and head outside! Being outdoors is proven to lower concentrations of cortisol, pulse rate, blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity. It is shown that being outdoors gives a creativity boost to tackle whatever problem you’ve been dealing with in your life.

4. It’ll restore you and give you an energy boost

senior couple hiking

Let’s face it, the reality is that humans spend a lot of time indoors on social media and computers. Spending time outdoors increases both physical and mental energy and feel more alive in as little as 20 minutes.

5. It could help you sleep better

woman outside sleep grass

We could all use a little extra zzzzs! A 2015 study published in Preventive Medicine found that those of 255,000 adults who have access to natural spaces slept better! So head out outside for 20 minutes of fresh air and walk your way to a better snooze tonight.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything.”
– Albert Einstein


There are many, many more reasons we should all be spending more time outdoors. Nature teaches us to become quieter and slow down our pace of living. It teaches us to really listen and truly feel like we are one with the earth. It teaches us to live in the moment – to enjoy the small things in life like watching the pace of nature and listening to the birds, hearing the trees sway and creek along with the wind.

The truth is nature teaches us far more than what we’ll ever be able to learn from a book.

How does being outside in nature make you feel? Let us know!

How to Avoid Turtles on the Road

What did the turtle say when she crossed the road? SLOW DOWWWN!

There’s nothing worse than driving and seeing a beautiful turtle lying dead on the side of the road. It’s sad for so many reasons. Did you know that the majority of Canada’s turtle populations occur in southern Ontario? Over 70 per cent of southern Ontario’s wetlands are gone. The remaining wetlands are often fragmented by roads. All eight freshwater turtle species are at risk. So it’s particularly terrible when they are killed on roads.

Why do turtles cross the road in the first place? Turtles usually stay in water but during nesting season, female turtles need to lay their eggs on dry land. In some cases the gravel and dry soil right beside the road is sometimes the optimal condition for their eggs. Turtles also move between wetlands and often this means they must cross a road.

Watch out for turtles on the road

blanding turtles in handsThe biggest help we can give to our turtles is to make sure we slow down and avoid them. Turtles move slowly and can look a bit shiny from a distance. It’s not hard to avoid them if you are driving at a reasonable speed with plenty of distance between the vehicle in front of you and if you’re looking far enough ahead.

If there is a known road that is a popular crossing destination, contact your local conservation authority and municipality to see if there is anything they can do for turtle crossings.

How to help a turtle cross the road

helping blanding turtle cross the streetStep 1: Safety!
First of all, make sure it is safe to help the turtle. Look both ways before heading out onto the road. If there are cars coming, don’t risk your life. Also, to familiarize yourself with how to handle a turtle, watch this video: https://youtu.be/h5ESRtJUVqU

Step 2: Get a Good Handle on the Situation (and the turtle!)
It is fairly easy to pick up a turtle – unless you’re dealing with a Snapping Turtle (more on that later). Use both hands and grab the turtle on both sides of the shell. The turtle may not appreciate or understand that they are being rescued from the road. It may scratch or pee on you, so be prepared for this. If you have a firm grip on the turtle with two hands you are less likely to drop it if it does scratch you.

Step 3: Make Sure to Move in the Right (or Left) Direction
Always move the turtle in the direction that it is going. It knows where it wants to go. Release the turtle on the gravel shoulder of the road and it will likely quickly shuffle away from you and the road.

Step 4: Report your sighting
If you’re located in the Simcoe/Muskoka Region in Ontario, call the S.T.A.R.T. Hotline at 705-955-4284. Do you live elsewhere in Canada? Report turtle activity on iNaturalist.ca in the “Help The Turtles” project. Your sightings (especially near highways) will help us determine active freshwater turtle areas, critical to the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s ongoing conservation efforts.

How to help Snapping Turtles on the road:

Moving a Snapping Turtle across the road is a bit more challenging — especially if it’s a large one. Snapping Turtles can be fast and they can bite. They can also spin around quickly or even lunge. Do not grab the sides of the shell of a Snapping Turtle as the head may whip around and bite you.

One option to move a Snapping Turtle is the car mat drag. Place a car mat behind the turtle, grab the back of the shell near the back legs and drag the turtle onto the mat. Do not drag the turtle by its tail as this can injure the turtle. Once the turtle is on the mat, drag the mat off the road, keeping one hand on the back of the turtle.

snapping turtle in algonquin park
© Richard McKenzie

Another technique for moving a Snapping Turtle is the shovel lift. If you have a shovel in the car, approach the turtle from behind and slide the shovel under it. Then lift and move the Snapping Turtle off the road. Don’t lift the shovel too far above the road as the turtle may try to move and fall off the shovel.

Again, always move the turtle in the direction that it is going. It knows where it wants to go. Release the turtle on the gravel shoulder of the road and it will likely quickly shuffle away from you and the road.

How to help and handle an injured turtle

small blanding turtle
Contact your nearest wildlife rehab centre ASAP.  If you’re located in the Muskoka/Lake Simcoe Region in Ontario, call the S.T.A.R.T. Hotline at 705-955-4284.

Note the location (road, major intersections, and mileage) where the turtle was found to ensure it can be released according to provincial regulations.

Once you’ve been given the okay to bring the turtle in, you’ll want to carefully place the injured animal in a well-ventilated plastic container with a secure lid. Most turtles can be picked up carefully with two hands. When handling snapping turtles keep a safe distance from their head as they will snap at you if they feel threatened. You may want to use a shovel or board to lift the turtle.

If you have to keep a turtle overnight before you bring it to a rehab facility, place it in a well-ventilated container with no water and in a cool, dark place, away from pets. Never attempt to treat a sick or injured wild animal yourself. Always contact your nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Dos and don’ts of helping an injured turtle:

snapping baby turtle
Don’t transport turtle(s) in water.
Do wash your hands after handling the animal!
Don’t offer the turtle anything to eat or drink.

Learn more about how you can help at HelptheTurtles.ca.

Rewilding 101: Should We or Shouldn’t We Rewild Landscapes?

Urbanization, biodiversity loss, climate change – human impact has undeniably taken its toll on the planet.

We’ve lost hundreds of species. Can we rewild landscapes and bring back species that are no longer here?

Let’s cover the basics. What is rewilding?

Rewilding means bringing back qualities that have been lost, restoring an area of land to its natural state and possibly reintroducing species that had been driven out or exterminated.

What’s the difference between conservation and rewilding?

Conservation focuses on protecting and restoring current habitats and wildlife populations. It’s almost like hitting “pause” for these species. Whereas rewilding emphasizes the restoration of habitat and wildlife species that have been driven out.

One of the most famous rewilding projects is the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park in 1990. The wolves changed the course of some rivers, stabilized deer and elk populations, helped make healthier riverbanks that suffered from less erosion and so much more.

What about Canada?


In Canada, we are lucky to still have many areas untouched and considered “wild”. However, these areas used to have species that thrived for many years, but may not exist in the region at all anymore.

grizzly bear

For example, Grizzly Bears used to live across all the Prairies. It is said that the first Grizzly Bear to ever be seen by a European explorer was in eastern Saskatchewan. Now there isn’t a Grizzly Bear in sight in that neck of the woods.

Decision makers in Banff reintroduced Plains Bison to the Rocky Mountains last summer, which have been long gone for about a century.

Can rewilding work for these species? Should we even consider it?

There are many questions that need to be asked when rewilding landscapes with species that have been long gone and many will be unanswered, as we simply do not know everything. Should we rewild species in Canada that haven been gone for a while? We’d have to be prepared to have species live in all kinds of landscapes, even it means it’s a bit closer to home. Because as you know, there is no such thing as a border or personal property line for wildlife species.

It’s certainly a conundrum and you could really make a case for either side.

wetland

The pros of rewilding in Canada:

  • Helping to reduce a mass extinction by giving nature a chance to reestablish its natural state of abundance and biodiversity. In truth, we would never be able to reverse the sixth mass extinction, but rewilding could make a small dent in reducing it.
  • Maintaining a piece of the Canadian identity. Each wildlife species has an intrinsic value in Canada, knowing they still exist in Canada will help maintain a piece of Canada as we know it.
  • Giving Canadians an opportunity to observe species in their natural setting.
  • Fighting climate change. For example, every tree planted in a rewilding project absorbs as much as 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Inspiring a generation to love nature and increase well-being.
  • Helping prevent natural disasters like flooding, soil erosion and more.

coyote

The cons of rewilding in Canada:

  • Impacting property. Some property owners around the rewilding sites may suffer from rewilding. For example, introducing predatory species likes wolves’ increases the risk of losing livestock for farmers.
  • Planning the land requirements for rewilding projects. It would take a lot of planning to decide the areas to rewild from countryside to city.
  • Gambling that it’d work. It is not always clear if extirpated species will do well if placed back in a previous environment.

What can you do to rewild your property?

The easiest and simplest way to do your part and help rewild is to plant native trees, flowers, shrubs and more in your backyard. Help create habitats for bats, butterflies, birds, and so much more. Take part in restoring wetlands by removing invasive plants.

What does the Canadian Wildlife Federation think of rewilding?

Well, it depends. It’s complicated and there are no right or wrong answers. We are more interested in restoring habitats and keeping the species we currently have at healthy population levels than reintroducing species that are already gone for centuries.

It is proven to be much more effective (in terms of cost, effort and success) to prevent wildlife or habitat loss than to restore or rewild it.

We want to hear from you!

What do you think about rewilding? How far back in time should rewilding go? Do we bring back species from last century or millennial? Let us know in the comments below!

How Do Animals Communicate?

Sounds aren’t the only way species communicate with each other

Birds will chirps, wolves will howl, ducks will quack and owls will hoot…but what about other ways of communicating? Take a look below at the incredible world of non-verbal communications!

There was something in the air that night

Ever wonder how all the ants just seem to know when there’s a piece of food on the ground? That’s because when an ant finds a new food source, it will release pheromones near it and along its path to help direct its fellow ant-friends to the food source. When the food source is almost gone, they stop releasing pheromones to let the scent trail fade away.

We all know that when Pepé Le Pew feels threatened, it will defend itself by spraying a special eau de skunk spray towards the predator. This is the skunk’s non-verbal way of communicating to those around to stay far, far away!

Wolves mark their territories with urine and scats to warn other wolves this area is already occupied and to move along. Not only this, but they use a variety of non-verbal body language such as facial expressions, and body movement and positions to convey the rules of the pack and exert their dominance.

So you think you can dance

sunflower beesBees will return to the hive to tell other bees that it found that sweet pot of nectar by performing a bee waggle dance to indicate the location. The dance is interpreted by other bees through touch in darkness, inside the nest. Could the bee waggle be the next fortnite floss dance phenomenon? We sure hope so!

Touted as one of nature’s greatest dancers, the Greater Sage Grouse sure know how to strut their stuff to impress that special lady. They show off their dashing good looks by puffing themselves up and popping their air sacs on their chest in and out. This is one dance you must Google right now.

Courting pairs of Whooping Cranes are also best known for their dance performance. They perform an elegant and elaborate dance display that involves leaping, flapping their wings and tossing their heads. Sign this duo up for So You Think You Can Dance pronto!

It’s all in the flick

fawn deer and skunk

 The tail of a deer is more than just a tail – it can tell you what the deer is feeling. Deer will wag their tails if relaxed and feel no imminent threat. Things start to change at the half-mast, a tail that is halfway up. It’s the first sign that something just doesn’t feel right. Then there is the flare when their tail is sitting straight up, and this means they are on alert and know that there is danger around. And finally, they perform the warning flicks. These are fast and they’re telling others to get ready to make a run for it.

A squirrel’s tail does more than just help them with their balance. It’s a way to communicate! When squirrels see something that makes them feel a bit uneasy it will wag its tail and do tail flashing to let their fellow squirrels-mates know. When squirrels approach a member of the opposite sex, its tail will tremble or have shivering like motions to help draw attention to itself.

Slapping good time

dolphin

We know Dolphins make those famous whistles and clicks sounds to communicate to others and to determine their locations, but they communicate in so many more ways! Dolphins will often slap its tail and flippers on water producing a loud sound to get the attention of others in the area.

Friend or foe? Only a kiss can tell

prairie dog

Greeting kisses are an important way of communication for Prairies Dogs. It may appear like their kissing, instead they’re actually baring their teeth and pressing mouths together to see if they are friends in the same social group or foes. If they are friends, then it’s business as usual, but if it’s a foe, they’ll fight it out.

Nature’s Clean Up Crew

No need to wait once a week for these scavengers to make their round.

Some species don’t get enough credit for the work they do to help keep the environment neat and tidy. Species that feast on dead and decaying plant and animal matter are called scavengers, a.k.a. nature’s clean up crew.

Scavengers play a crucial role in the environment; they help break down organic matter and recycle it back into the ecosystem as nutrients. They also keep potentially dangerous diseases and bacteria at bay by consuming the animal carcasses along the roadside, your favourite outdoor trail, and many other locations we might not even be aware of.

Take a look below at some of Canada’s most popular scavengers and some that just may surprise you.

Turkey Vultures

turkey vulture

Turkey Vultures are scavengers in the truest form and feed almost exclusively on carrion (dead animals). Their keen sense of smell helps them detect gases from carrion along the roadside and beneath closed tree canopies. Their stomachs have strong acids that help kill off dangerous toxins and microorganisms, which helps minimize the spread of diseases and bacteria associated with carrion.

Butterflies

butterly

Butterflies are scavengers too! Several species of butterflies have been found huddled on mud, urine and dung, and on the corpses of dead animals and fish as they lick for vital salt and minerals.

Red Fox

red fox

Red Foxes have a stomach of steel and can eat almost anything from voles, mice, squirrels and rabbits to reptiles, wild fruits and garbage. But they will also readily eat carrion any chance they get.

Pine Martens

pine marten

Pine Martens have a cute appearance with a little round face and pointy nose. They are also very effective predators with sharp, curved and semi-retractable claws that help them climb trees. Just like many species, Pine Martens are also opportunistic predators that won’t pass up on free leftovers.

Coyotes

coyote

You can count on Coyotes for scavenging on the leftovers from wolf kills. Coyotes are opportunists and will eat just about anything from small prey animals, deer, wild fruit to dead animals.

Common Raven

raven

This bird has adapted to living in many different habitats across the country and with that comes being able to adapt on what food is available. Ravens are mostly opportunistic omnivores and are known to prey on sick and dying animals and scavenge their carcasses.

Wolverine

wolverine

Wolverines are more of a scavenger than a hunter and usually depends on other animals, like wolves, to make the kill for them. But when push comes to shove, Wolverines will hunt their own prey.

North American Lobster

lobster

North American Lobsters do their part to keep the sea floor clean. These bottom-dwellers feed on crabs, shellfish, starfish, marine worms, sea urchins, slugs and snails – either alive or dead! They certainly do their part to help recycle the nutrients within their habitat.

 Black Bear

black bear

Black Bears take advantage of whatever grub is available. They need to forage up to 20 hours a day to increase their body weight for winter and will eat both plants and animals, including carrion.

Snapping Turtles

snapping turtle

Snapping Turtles play an important role in the ecosystems as scavengers. These turtles helps keep our lakes and rivers clean by eating a heavy diet of carrion and recycling the nutrients back into the bodies of water.

Santa’s Got Company

The Arctic tundra is a fascinating area between the edge of the boreal forest and the permanent ice caps closer to the North Pole.

This areas spans across Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Northeastern Manitoba, Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec and Northern Labrador. Such a vast and harsh arctic climate is home to a limited variety of species that must adapt to the long, cold months and major snow fall.

The Great White Bear

polar bears

The North Pole wouldn’t be complete without the Polar Bear. Unfortunately, the Polar Bear is a species at-risk in the tundra. One of the main threats is climate change which is impacting the sea ice patterns. Sea ice patterns doesn’t sound like a big deal but the Polar Bears, along with many other species at-risk rely on the ice for migration and foraging. When the ice is sparse, it can result in famine and even death.

The Arctic Fox

arctic fox

The Arctic Fox is another common and welcomed sight in the tundra. This mammal perfectly adapts to the harsh conditions by changing the colour of its fur from a brownish-grey to white in the winter months. They also use their thick bushy tails as a warm cover to protect themselves from the harsh cold wind. The Artic Fox, like many other fox species, will travel long distances in search of food like lemmings, birds and their eggs, leftover carcasses and even plants.

Arctic Hare

arctic hare

Like the Arctic Fox, the Arctic Hare have adapted to survive the tundra. They sport short ears, black eyelashes that protect the eye from the glaring sun, and have incredibly thick fur that changes from a blueish-grey to white in the winter. To protect themselves from the cold and predators, the Arctic Hare will dig dens in the snow or soil which helps them conserve body heat. Here, under the snow, they can also find some winter grubs like shrubs, mosses and lichens to keep them full all winter long.

Arctic Char

arctic char

Very few fish species call the Great White North home in its coldest months. One of the fish that lives in the lakes and rivers of the tundra is the Arctic Char. It plays an important role in the tundra as these fish are an important source of food for many birds of prey in the summer and for mammals in the winter. The Arctic Char spends part of its life cycle in fresh water and the other part in salt water. However, some Arctic Char have adapted and made fresh water their primary address after become land locked.

Birds in the Tundra

Greater White-fronted Geese © Nathan Clements
Greater White-fronted Geese | Oies rieuses © Nathan Clements

Birds are the most diverse group in the tundra! It is home to important birds like the Common Eider, Thick-billed Murre and the Arctic Tern. These birds primarily live near the Arctic Ocean and rely on the marine environment for some grubs to feast on.

Plants and Fungi

tundra
@ Martin Prentice

When you think of life in the tundra, plant and fungi aren’t exactly the first thing to come to mind. There are nearly 2,000 species of plants, mosses, sedges, grasses and flowering plants thriving there! Adaptation isn’t only for birds and mammals, plants in the tundra have adapted to shorter growing seasons, lack of humidity and low nutrient level in the soil. Plants grow shorter and closer to the soil which aids when tumultuous windstorms arise. Huddling together for warmth isn’t only for mammals! Plants have adapted to grow huddled together to stay warm.

Diving into Winter

Below zero temperatures, chilly winds, snow covered grounds…. How do Canadian wildlife prepare themselves? Let’s dive right into wildlife in winter!

The change in colours, the brisk air, the frost… It can only mean one thing – winter is coming. Winter is a beautiful time of year. It can be quiet, calm and serene but can also be uncertain, unforgiving and challenging for wildlife. As we’re preparing for winter, wildlife is too.

Don’t Wake Me Up

black bear winter
Bears are one of the most famous sleepers in Canada!

Some species cope with colder weather by sleeping right through winter using a few tricks up their sleeves.

Bears are one of the most famous sleepers in Canada! They enter their dens as soon as the temperature becomes chilly – typically between September and October and emerge around April. They survive this long stretch by reducing their breathing rate to one breath every 45 seconds, slowing their heart rate way down to eight to 19 beats per minute and relying on their fat store.

Bats like the Little Brown Bat are also well-known hibernators in Canada. They were known to effectively hibernate throughout winter in their caves surviving off their fat stores. This is no longer the case for many millions of bats. White-Nose Syndrome is severely impacting their hibernating abilities by keeping them more active and using up their precious fat stores quickly during the chilly winter months.

Groundhogs, also known as the national symbol that spring has arrived, are one of Canada’s largest true hibernators. They go into hibernation around September or October and reduce their heartrate from 80 to five beats a minute. They also drop their body temperature to as low as 3°C to last the entire winter.

Garter Snakes hibernate in groups of a hundred, sometimes thousands, in holes or burrows to stay warm. When spring arrives, they head out of their winter homes to soak all the Vitamin D they can get.

Into the Cold I Go

snowshoe hare winter
The Snowshoe Hare helps keep other species alive like lynx, foxes, coyotes and more during these cold months.

Some species really know how to make the most out of winter and have the best of both worlds – a cozy home and a wintery wonderland to explore.

Snowshoe Hares are one of the most well-known species that are active all winter long. Their fur gets thicker and turns white to blend into the snow. Snowy storms and weather may put a damper on their daily foraging plans but they are known to ride out storms and rest in sheltered spots, known as “forms”, and under logs, stumps and bushes. Because these little guys are always on the move, they can easily find shelter and food like buds, twigs and bark. These little guys also play a crucial role in the food chain during Canada’s harsh winters. The Snowshoe Hare helps keep other species alive like lynx, foxes, coyotes and more during these cold months.

Foxes adapt well to wintery conditions too. During the winter months, foxes take shelter in thickets and heavy bushes. Foxes explore the winter grounds and rely on small mammals such as Snowshoe Hares, mice, voles, rabbits and more as a source of food during the colder months. Foxes have excellent hearing and can actually hear the sound of small mammals scratching and rustling under the snow resulting in the most incredible nose dives into the snow to scrounge up a snack.

Life Under the Snow

mouse snow
Small mammals like voles, shrews and mice build a network of tunnels that allow them to move freely on the bottom in search of food.

Don’t let the serene calmness of a perfect snowfall cover fool you, there’s a bustling network under it. Small mammals like voles, shrews and mice build a network of tunnels that allow them to move freely on the bottom in search of food. For them, the more snow the better! The snow acts as moderate insulator keeping them warm and cozy on the coldest days and keeps them somewhat protected from predators. There is an abundance of food under the snow like seeds, nuts, dry grasses and torpid insects which keeps them well-fed.