Amazing Animals of Alaska

  • Young harbor seal

    Harbor Seal

    Several species of seals and sea lions live along Alaska's coasts, but the harbor seal is perhaps the most recognizable for its light gray fur spotted with dark blotches. Harbor seal populations in Alaska have been on the decline in recent years, earning them a designation as an Alaskan Species of Special Concern. If you want to spot one, you'll find them throughout the Aleutian Islands and along the state's southern coast.

    Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

  • Grizzlies in Denali National Park

    Grizzly Bear

    When you think about wildlife in Alaska, grizzly bears are likely one of the first animals that comes to mind, and for good reason. The population of grizzlies in the state is the largest of any North American province or state with some 30,000 individuals found along the coasts and rivers where fish are most abundant. One of the best places to see them is in Katmai National Park.

    Photo courtesy of NPS / Jacob W. Frank

  • Horned puffins

    Horned Puffin

    The horned puffin, one of Alaska's most interesting seabirds, can be identified as by their distinctive beaks, which they use to carry multiple fish at the same time. The pigeon-sized birds are the rarest of the puffin species but can be spotted on the rocky coasts of Kenai Fjords National Park where they like to nest in small crevices.

    Photo courtesy of Andrea Pokrzywinski

  • Closeup of a red fox

    Red Fox

    Unlike wolves, the red fox is a solitary animal, making them rather difficult to spot. Luckily, their distinctive red coat, white bushy tail and black feet stand out against the white snow in winter, making the feat a bit easier. While they're located on every continent except South America and Antarctica, but in Alaska, they're most commonly found south of the Arctic tundra.

    Photo courtesy of Tambako The Jaguar

  • Male moose in Denali National Park

    Alaska Moose

    The Alaska moose – Alaska's official state land mammal – is also one of the most dangerous. This largest member of the deer family has a sizable population in Alaska, making sightings a common occurrence. If you want to see one on your trip, you can typically do so from your car between Anchorage and Denali National Park of within the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge.

    Photo courtesy of NPS / Jacob W. Frank

  • Least weasel

    Least Weasel

    When you see this adorable little guy, you might well find it hard to imagine how the word "weasel" earned such a negative connotation. This cute and very clever predatory mammal has a long body and short legs, allowing it to follow smaller prey into holes and burrows. This also helps it sneak into farmhouses to make off with chickens, hence the bad reputation.

    Photo courtesy of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

  • Polar bear on Alaska's Beaufort Sea

    Polar Bear

    The polar bear, one of the most recognizable bear species on the planet, resides in the polar region of Alaska, ranging as far south as St. Lawrence Island. Two distinct populations can be found within the state, one along the Southern Beaufort Sea and the other on the Chukchi/Bering Sea. To see these enormous Alaskan predators, visit between August and October when the bears congregate near the shore waiting for winter ice to form.

    Photo courtesy of Collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, NOAA National Ice Center

  • Killer whales spotted in an Alaskan fjord

    Killer Whale

    Did you know that killer whales aren't really whales at all? They're actually members of the dolphin family. Opportunities to spot killer whales, or orcas, are abundant in several destinations in Alaska, particularly during the summer. Kenai Fjords National Park, Prince William Sound and the waters surrounding the capital city of Juneau are just a few.

    Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe

  • Boreal Owl

    Boreal Owl

    One of Alaska's most beautiful birds, the boreal owl, is also one of the most illusive, thanks in part to the fact that it's the smallest species of owl in the interior of the state. Typically, you'll hear one before you see it; listen carefully as you walk through the forested areas of Denali National Park for its soft cooing.

    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo Tim Rains

  • Muskox photographed in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve


    The muskox, an Arctic mammal, gets its name from the musky smell the males give off to attract females during mating season. Relatives of the goat, these odd-looking animals have a thick, long coat – sometimes up to 36 inches – that protects them even in subzero temperatures.

    Photo courtesy of NPS: Roy Wood

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