Vancouver Island Shopping Carts

With a nod to Hugh Griffith at Rock, Paper, Lizard and Julian Montague at the Stray Shopping Cart Project I’ve been inspired to begin collecting images and documenting species of shopping cart on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Julian Montague has developed a classification system for eastern shopping carts based on “defining the various states and situations in which stray shopping carts can be found” that should be applicable to shopping carts in western North America (consult Montague’s web site or his book “The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification” for more information). Hugh has taken a slightly different tack and identified specimens by morphology and habitat and is working on Wild Shopping Carts of North America.

Here are my first two specimens observed in Courtenay, British Columbia:

Common Blue Roller

Common Blue Roller
Common Blue Roller

Classification: B/1, B/19

This Common Blue Roller was observed near a Husky station in Courtenay, British Columbia. Note the cryptic colouration as the Blue Roller attempts to blend in with its surrounding habitat. This species must be approached with caution as it is an aggressive ambush predator.

The Common Blue Roller, like the name suggests, is fairly common in urban areas. An introduced species, it is spreading rapidly in North America. The northern-most limitation of its range on Vancouver Island is currently the Comox Valley but there have been unconfirmed reports of sightings as far north as Campbell River.

Red-Banded Silver Spinner

Red-banded Silver Spinner
Red-banded Silver Spinner

Classification: B/1

Red-banded Silver Spinner - diagnostic field mark
Red-banded Silver Spinner - diagnostic field mark

I’ve observed this Red-banded Silver Spinner in the same location for several days now and was able to identify it by its diagnostic field mark (see image – right). This was a lifer for me and I was pretty excited confirm the species. The Red-banded Silver Spinner prefers vacant lots, yard edges of abandoned houses and other edge habitat. This one was basking in the late afternoon sun enabling me to approach quite close to it. Non-aggressive, Red-banded Silver Spinners are a delight to watch.

Much more research is needed to define the range of the Red-banded Silver Spinner on Vancouver Island.


  1. Great sightings! Fortunately for you, the Common Blue Roller, known for its swift lunge-attack, was satiated after consuming a vintage microwave. Now it won’t have to eat again for at least three months.

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  4. Delighed to discover this blog–thank you for your thorough research. However I seriously doubt whether the shopping-cart genus can truly be considered to be wild. I strongly suspect that they are actually feral here.

  5. An interesting question – are the carts wild and have been domesticated or are they merely escapees who have become feral. If the latter, there might be an opportunity for a non-profit to apply for funding to set up shelters for orphaned carts and perhaps even a “trap, neuter, release” program. I imagine that Hugh over at Rock, Paper, Lizard might have an opinion!

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