Go wild and explore Alaska's animals, including the brown bear, lynx, bald eagle, gray wolf and more.
Alaska’s brown bear resembles its close relative the black bear, but it is usually larger and has longer, straighter claws. Mature males weigh between 500 and 900 pounds. So stir clear of these furry beasts. If you’re into nature watching from afar, head to McNeil River Falls -- it’s the perfect place to spot the largest concentration of brown bears hunting for salmon swimming upstream.
Go on a boat tour to see killer whales in Alaska’s Glacier Bay. Orcas are not really whales, but they are the largest, fastest and most powerful hunters in the dolphin family. Killer whales can grow up to 30-feet long and weigh up to 20,000 pounds.
Alaska is home one the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the US. Wolves in the state’s southeast region are usually darker and smaller than those in the northern region. Gray wolves live on the Alaska’s mainland, but they also can be found on Unimak Island and on most major islands in the southeast.
This furry creature is the only cat native to Alaska. Lynx inhabit most of Alaska’s forested terrain, including on the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak archipelago, the islands in the Bering Sea and Southeast Alaska.
Porcupines are one of the largest rodents in North America. The highlighted quills detach easily and the barbs make them difficult to remove once lodged in an attacker. These prickly creatures contain an antibiotic in their skin just in case they get stuck with their own quills. Porcupines fall out of trees fairly often because they are tempted by the tender buds and twigs at the ends of tree branches.
Take a scenic road trip through Denali National Park. Denali is home to a variety of animals, including grizzly bears, caribou, snowshoe hares, wolverines, tundra swans and Arctic warblers. The National Park and Reserve is located in the center of Alaska and includes Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. And in case you didn’t know, it is also the site of the longest glacier -- the Kalhiltna glacier.
The national bird of the US is no stranger to Alaska. In fact, Haines, AK, is host to an annual Alaska Bold Eagle Festival, where up to 4,000 eagles can be found in the preserve feeding on a late run of salmon in November. The bald eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird -- up to 4 meters deep, 2.5 meters wide and 1 metric ton in weight.
The red fox -- native to Kodiak Island -- is also found in other areas, including the Taku and Stikin river valleys and on Douglass Island near Juneau. The sly creature is present in tundra regions, which it shares with the Artic fox. Where the 2 species overlap, the red fox is dominant, and known to dig white (Arctic) foxes form their dens and kill them.
Visit the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. The terrain consists of wetlands (pictured), alpine areas and taiga forest. The refuge, created in 1941, was created to protect thousands of birds and several large mammals, including black bears, dall sheep, moose and caribou. It’s also a popular destination for fishing for salmon and trout.
In Alaska, caribou prefer treeless tundra and mountains during all seasons, but many herds spend winter in the boreal forest. Adult bulls average 350 to 400 pounds; whereas mature females average about 175 to 225 pounds. Caribou in northern and southwestern Alaska are generally smaller than caribou in the interior and in southern region of the state.
This cute, brown-eyed animal is 1 of 4 arctic seal species that rely on sea ice for feeding, resting and pupping. Bearded seals are the largest of all arctic seals and are found in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas in Alaska.
Halibut Cove, once a fishing village, is now home to several artists and businesses. The popular tourist destination has several lodges and cabins for those who enjoy communing in the wild with nature. You won’t have to worry about traffic congestion here. The only way to get around the cove is by boat.