Fifteen species of mammals, representing 4 orders, and 10 families are known to occur on campus. We can be confident that other species, including especially several small species (e.g., voles, mice, rats, shrews, bats, etc.), occur on campus. Unfortunately, definitive records for these species are not currently available.


Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

Photo: Ian Walker
Location: Woodlands north of the campus residences, UBC Okanagan (26 June 2019)

Mule Deer are a common, yellow-listed species. They frequent the UBC Okanagan campus, but are generally secretive, hiding among trees near Redwing Pond (east of the EME building) or in the woodlands north of the campus residences. Mule Deer fawns have been seen in both of these areas.

The subspecies occurring in this part of the province is referred to as the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus).

Although not seen on campus, White-tailed Deer are common on the Beaver Lake Road in Lake Country.



Coyote (Canis latrans)

Photo: Ian Walker
Location: Field on north side of John Hindle Drive, UBC Okanagan (27 Feb 2019)

Coyotes generally avoid the busy, academic portion of campus during daylight hours, but are frequently seen near Robert Lake and in the Endowment Field on the northwest side of campus. Dens of this yellow-listed species have been found close to the northwest margin of Robert Lake, and north of the campus residences, close to the Quail Ridge golf course.



Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris)

Photo: Ian Walker
Location: Woodlands north of the campus residences, UBC Okanagan (16 May 2019)

Dogs are a common sight on campus. Many people enjoy walking these pets on trails through the campus woodlands.

Although people may have (or had) cats in the campus residences, we have never seen one.



Cougar (Puma concolor)

Cougars are a very wide-ranging species. Although they are rarely seen, they are sufficiently common to be yellow-listed in British Columbia.

We do not have a definitive record of cougars from the UBC Okanagan campus, but one was reported at the Quail Ridge Golf Course in 2013, and another in 2019. They should be expected to occasionally appear on campus lands. Despite their size, they are sufficiently secretive that we may pass them without ever noticing their presence.



Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)

Photo: Nathan Earley
Location: Redwing Pond (behind the EME Building), UBC Okanagan (13 September 2018)

The Long-tailed Weasel is one of three species of weasels found in British Columbia. One was seen by a Biology class at Redwing Pond in 2018 (see above photo), but that is the only report we are aware of. They are a common species (yellow-listed), but very secretive. If you are sufficiently lucky to get a glimpse of one, that will likely be all you will see.



American Badger (Taxidea taxus jeffersonii)
Photo: Ian Walker
Location: Industrial park south of UBC Okanagan (3 June 2016)

American Badgers are occasionally found on campus. In 2015 a badger dug an extensive network of holes and tunnels around University House (the house near the Learning Garden close to the southeast corner of campus). In 2016 a family of badgers occupied a den in the industrial park south of campus, not far from Carney Pond (see above photo). Later, this family moved onto campus (Parking Lot J). Sadly, the entire family was wiped out later in 2016 while trying to cross Highway 97, adjacent to campus. In 2018, a badger was seen on the northeastern side of campus, with a burrow constructed adjacent to Hollywood Road.

The American Badger is a red-listed species in British Columbia, and the subspecies native to British Columbia is recognized as endangered nationally under the Species-at-Risk Act. We should do all we can to protect this species, but the dense road network developing around campus does not bode well for its future on our campus.

For further information on this species, see:



Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

Photo: Ian Walker
Location: Rocky Mountain Trench, north of McBride, B.C. (19 May 2011)

Black Bears are not a common sight on campus, but they are occasionally present, for example in 2013 and 2015. Their scat is sometimes found on campus woodland trails. They likely feed on saskatoon berries and other fruit while on campus. Care should be taken not to leave other attractants around campus. Be aware that bears might occasionally be encountered on campus, for example, while walking woodland trails near the student residences.

This species is common, and hence yellow-listed in British Columbia.

Grizzly bears are much less common, at least locally, but one was reported near campus at Quail Ridge in 2017. We are not aware of any reports of this blue-listed species on our campus.



Humans (Homo sapiens)

Photo: Ian Walker
Location: UBC Okanagan (2 May 2012)

UBC Okanagan is home to several thousand students, and is constructed on the unceded territory of the Syilx People. Indigenous First Nations people have made their home in the Okanagan Valley for thousands of years, likely arriving in the area shortly after retreat of the glacial ice, ca. 10,000 years ago.



Voles sp. (Arvicolinae sp.)

Although we have no definitive record of vole species on campus, their presence is obvious via the winter "highways" appearing as the spring sun melts each year's snow. These pathways are most evident in spring in the endowment field on the west side of campus. Because identification of voles is mostly based on dentition patterns, they are not normally identifiable from photographs.

The Meadow Vole is perhaps the most likely species to occur on campus.



Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
Photo: Emma Walker
Location: Brant's Creek near Kane Road, Kelowna (16 Dec 2017)

Muskrats frequent wetland areas on campus. In 2018 muskrats were seen both at Tutt Pond (south of John Hindle Drive, near the landfill entrance) and in Robert Lake. From the east side of Tutt Pond, a muskrat lodge constructed from cat-tail and bulrush stems is easily seen on the opposite margin of the pond.

This species is common in wetlands throughout the province.



North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)

A porcupine was seen by several students and faculty north of the student residences in March 2016. It was on campus for at least two weeks.

By stripping the bark from live trees, porcupines make their presence obvious. Since such evidence is rarely seen on campus, porcupines must not be common in the campus woodlands.

They occur thoughout mainland British Columbia, but are much less common in the Okanagan than in many areas of Canada.



Northern Pocket Gopher (Thomomys talpoides (incensus probably))

The Northern Pocket Gopher spends almost all of its time underground; thus, it is rarely seen or photographed. They burrow just beneath the soil surface in grassy areas, like the eastern margin of the Endowment Field (northwest of the campus residences). The burrows are evident via the low, linear mounds of barren earth they create while burrowing. So - while we have never seen a pocket gopher on campus, we know via their burrows that this yellow-listed species is common on campus.



Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris)
Photo: Ian Walker
Location: Adjacent to gymnasium, UBC Okanagan (21 May 2019)

Yellow-bellied Marmots are one of the largest rodents on campus, but they rarely venture far from their hiding places among rocks, concrete blocks or other massive objects. These objects create obstacles to predators that might otherwise dig them up for a meal. The best places to see marmots are along the eastern side of campus where there is some construction activity, or at the Quonset Hut southeast of the EME building. In 2019, marmots were living under a storage container near the southeast corner of the gymnasium.

Yellow-bellied Marmots are yellow-listed, being common throughout the southern interior of British Columbia.



Yellow-pine Chipmunk (Neotamias amoenus)
Photo: Ian Walker
Location: UBC Okanagan campus (19 April 2013)

Four chipmunk species occur in British Columbia, but the Yellow-pine Chipmunk is the only one found in the Okanagan region. They can be found on campus wherever a few shrubs create cover. It is a yellow-listed species, common throughout the southern half of mainland British Columbia.



Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
Photo: Ian Walker
Location: In woodlands north of the campus residences, UBC Okanagan (15 June 2019)

The Red Squirrel is a very common squirrel throught the interior of British Columbia. Although it is still very common, it is being displaced in urban areas of Kelowna by the larger, invasive Eastern Grey Squirrel. I have not yet seen a grey squirrel on campus, but they are likely to do well among the oaks planted on the UBC Okanagan campus. The native red squirrels occur principally in areas where conifer woodlands prevail (e.g., north of the campus residences).



Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus)
Photo: Ian Walker
Location: Adjacent to the Lower Cascades residences, UBC Okanagan (16 May 2019)

Columbian Ground Squirrels are very common on campus. This yellow-listed species has established a large colony among the campus residences (i.e., on the slope separating the Similkameen Residence from the Lower Cascade Residences. They first emerge from their burrows during the examination period in mid-April, as students are already leaving campus.