Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site

Over the years, a unique variety of wildlife has settled on Grosse Île, despite its isolated location. Animals have used different ways to reach the island: some mammals swam or made their way over ice bridges linking the islands; birds flew in search of favourable habitats; and amphibians most likely hid in materials transported to the island.

Amphibians and reptiles

In the spring, the wood frog and spring peeper can be heard singing next to marshes and bodies of water. More discreet, the Eastern redback salamander and yellow spotted salamander live in the woods. Harmless, the garter snake can be seen, as well as the ringneck snake, which is uncommon to Quebec.


Grosse Île is populated by a hundred different species of birds. Many take advantage of the lack of predators and abundance of nesting sites in the forest, including the red-eyed vireo and the veery. Some birds, such as the great heron and peregrine falcon, visit only to feed. Others, like snow geese and ducks, drop by during their migration. The diversity of birds on Grosse Île, especially the 15 species of warblers and the house wren, are remarkable for this small island.


A number of mammals inhabit this environment. The deer mouse, meadow vole and curious star-nosed mole, equipped with 22 tentacles, dwell in the forests and open spaces. Muskrats, red squirrels and foxes also share the island. Bat nesting sites, with more than 5000 to 7000 little brown bats and northern long-eared bats, have been found on Grosse Île. Lastly, white-tailed deer from neighbouring islands came to stay and multiplied, with a significant impact on the island’s vegetation and rare plant species.

Advice when visiting

To protect wildlife and experience an enjoyable and safe adventure, do not approach animals or feed them.

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