is known for its amazing wildlife. Mammals, birds, fish and
marine life fill the vast coastline and wilderness that is
Alaska. These magnificent animals have even been known to
venture into town from time to time. Many visitors come to
Alaska to have an opportunity to witness wildlife in its natural
habitat. Others enjoy the opportunity to hunt and fish in
this expansive area. Some of the more notable wildlife found
in Alaska include:
This symbol of American strength and freedom had
been an endangered species for several years throughout the
lower 48 states. However, the Bald Eagle never hit the list
The American Bald
Eagle is one of the larger birds with a wingspan that can
reach 8 feet. They are hunters that prey on fish and small
mammals. They use their strong talons to capture their prey
from the air. These massive and power full birds can be found
everywhere in Alaska. Bald Eagles make their homes along the
coast and in the mountainous regions near lakes and streams.
The Bald Eagle will usually have only one mate throughout
its lifetime. The couple will build a single nest and return
to it year after year, each time adding a bit more moss or
a few more twigs. Eagle nests have been known to be as large
as five-feet across and weigh as much as 4,000 pounds. Bald
Eagles will have one chick at a time. When there are two chicks
hatched in a single season, only the stronger of the two will
These medium sized deer are numerous in the Alaskan
mountains. Only the Woodland Caribou have ever hit an endangered
list, and then only ranked in the threatened category. Many
groups of Caribou call the various National Parks found in
Alaska home. They usually live above the tree line and migrate
with the seasons in order to find food. Caribou feed on grasses,
mushrooms, birches, willows and other vegetation. The male
Caribou will grow to 3 to 5 feet tall weighing as much as
600 pounds, females are usually smaller. Both male and female
Caribou produce alters each year. Males shed their antlers
soon after mating season, while the females keep theirs until
after giving birth.
The Moose is the largest of the deer family and have
been known to weigh more that 1,200 pounds. Moose are usually
timid animals and enjoy watching people from a distance. However,
don’t let this docile personality fool you. Moose are
capably of killing a person and several cows have done so
when they feel their calf is being threatened.
Moose are also
fantastic swimmers and enjoy taking a dip during the warm
summer months. They will often stay in the water for up to
two hours. They eat green vegetation during the warm part
of the year and survive on bark and twigs throughout the winter.
Other than their
size, the large flat antlers are what set the Moose apart
from the other deer. Only the male produce these powerful
antlers they use them for busting through the brush, digging
up food and of course battles over female Moose during mating
season. Moose generally weigh 24 to 36 pounds at birth and
live for more than 20 years.
The Blue Whale is believed to be the largest animal
to ever live on the earth. These immense whales grow to be
more than 70 feet long and weigh as much a 150 tons. However,
their future is extremely uncertain at this time. They have
been listed on the endangered species list for many years.
The Blue Whale population is estimated to be as small as 1,300.
This whale is not really a whale at all! The Orca
or Killer Whale is really the largest member of the dolphin
family. Orcas are relatively small when compared to any member
of the whale family. These killers of the sea only grow to
about 22 feet long and weigh in at a minuscule 7 to 10 tons.
Like other member
of the dolphin family Killer Whales are very social creatures
that travel and hunt in pods of up to 100 members. The pods
are lead by the females; and there is a pronounced social
ladder within the pod. Each Orca pod has distinctive language
made by bouncing sounds off of each other. Researchers studying
Killer Whale pods have even discovered that each member of
a pod has its own sound or name.
When hunting every
member of the pod helps out. They have been know to build
nets of bubbles to capture fish or slid up on shore to grab
a seal or sea lion.
Found living in the coastal waters off Alaska is
the ever famous marine mammal known as the sea otter. This
super cute member of the weasel family can weigh as much as
100 pounds. They can usually be found hammering away at sea
urchins, abalone, mussels, clams and crabs in an effort to
get a tasty meal.
Unlike other marine
mammals the Sea Otter does not have a layer of fat or blubber
to keep warm they depend on their thick water proof fur.
Like many other groups of whales the Humpback is
currently listed as an endangered species. It is estimated
that only 5,000 Humpbacks still roam the ocean today. The
Humpback grows to be 35 to 45 feet long and weighs around
65 tons. They are a long lived mammal with a life expectancy
of 95 years.
The Humpback Whale
is most famous for their aerial displays called breaching.
These giants of the ocean leap out of the water, twist and
splash back down. Researchers studying the Humpback are not
sure why they participate in breaching, but assume it has
something to do with mating or that it may be just be a form
This type of whale
has a beautiful singing voice. They are known worldwide for
their intense song, however, it only the male who sings.