Alaska is known for its vast wilderness and diverse wildlife. From grizzly bears to bald eagles, the state is home to a wide variety of animals that can be found nowhere else in the world. Let us take a closer look at some of the most iconic wild animals that call Alaska home, as well as where exactly that home is.
Most Common Wild Animals in Alaska
The following wildlife is some of the most common and recognizable in the whole of Alaska, the largest state in the USA:
Alaska is home to the largest population of grizzly bears in the entire United States. These massive predators can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and are known for their sharp claws and powerful jaws. Grizzlies are a common sight in Alaska’s national parks, where visitors can observe them from a safe distance.
While they are typically not aggressive towards humans, it is important to always be cautious around these animals.
Moose are the largest members of the deer family and can weigh up to 1,600 pounds. They are a common sight in the state and can often be found near streams and lakes. Moose are herbivores and feed on plants such as willows, birch, and aspen. They are also known for their impressive antlers that can grow up to six feet wide. They are truly an amazing sight regardless of whether it is a single one or an entire group.
The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and is found throughout the whole of Alaska. These majestic birds can weigh up to 14 pounds and have a wingspan of up to seven feet. Bald eagles are predators and feed on fish, small mammals, and other birds. They are often seen soaring over rivers and coastlines of the largest US state.
Wolves are one of the most elusive animals in Alaska as well as one of the most commonly mentioned. They are skilled hunters and can take down prey much larger than themselves.
Wolves typically travel in packs and can be found in the interior regions of the state. While they are rarely seen by humans, their howls can often be heard echoing through the wilderness. It is definitely something you do not want to hear during a hike!
Often mistakenly referred to by a number of different names, the caribou are a type of wild reindeer that are found in numerous parts of Alaska.
These animals are well adapted to living in the harsh arctic climates and feed on lichens, mosses, and other plants. They are also an important food source for Alaska’s native communities and many of its predator animals.
Sea otters are a unique species that can only be found in the northern Pacific Ocean. These cute, playful animals are known for their thick fur that helps them survive in the unforgiving, cold Alaskan waters. Sea otters are an important part of the marine ecosystem and help maintain the health of kelp forests by feeding on sea urchins.
Where to Find Them?
Now that you knw about the animals, let us see what places offer the best chance to spot them:
1. Denali National Park and Preserve
The Denali National Park and Preserve is located in central Alaska and is one of the best places in the world to see grizzly bears, wolves, and moose. The park is home to more than 2,000 moose that are often seen grazing along the park’s rivers and lakes.
Grizzly bears are also a common sight in the park with about 300 of them living within its borders. Visitors can take a guided tour of the park to increase their chances of seeing the breathtaking wildlife.
2. Kenai Fjords National Park
Located on the coast of the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park is home to a wide variety of marine animals including sea otters, humpback whales, and orcas.
The park’s Harding Icefield is also home to mountain goats, black bears, and ptarmigan. If you find yourself there, you should take a boat tour of the park’s coastline to see these animals up close.
3. Kodiak Island
Kodiak Island is the second-largest island in the United States and is home to the Kodiak bear, a subspecies of the iconic grizzly bear. These bears are known for their massive size and can weigh up to 1,500 pounds, making them some of the largest predators you can see.
Visitors to Kodiak Island who want a chance to sport them should book a guided tour and explore their their natural habitats.
4. Tongass National Forest
Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States and covers most of southeast Alaska. Alaska is big so there is no surprise that some of the largest forests and islands are located here.
The forest is home to a variety of animals including black bears, bald eagles, and Sitka black-tailed deer. Visitors are encouraged to hike along one of the park’s many trails to see these animals up close.
5. Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is located near Haines and is home to the largest concentration of bald eagles in the whole world. The preserve was established in 1982 to protect the eagles’ habitat and has since become a popular destination for both avid and amateur bird watchers. If you are interested in the country’s national bird, book yourself a guided tour to see the famous birds doing their thing in their natural habitat.
In conclusion, Alaska is a wildlife lover’s paradise. With so much wilderness to explore, visitors are sure to see some of the state’s incredible animals in their natural habitats. From grizzly bears to bald eagles, Alaska offers a unique opportunity to observe some of the most incredible wildlife in the world.
By visiting these five places, visitors can increase their chances of seeing these animals up close and personal. However, it is important to always be cautious around these animals and respect their home and way of life.