Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information


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Wildlife Guide

  • Beluga Whales
    The round knob on belugas’ faces is called a “melon,” and it appears to have some role in their vocalizations.
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  • Black bear
    Black bears are the smallest of Alaska’s three bear species (the other two are grizzlies and polar bears) and have a pointier snout than grizzlies.
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  • Brown bear
    Brown bears on Kodiak Island are classified as a distinct subspecies from those on the mainland because they are genetically and physically isolated.
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  • Caribou
    Caribou are a member of the deer family and look a lot like their close relatives, the reindeer.
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  • Dall sheep
    Dall sheep are characterized by their curled horns, but if you look closely at their horns, you can also tell how old they are.
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  • Eagles
    The United States’ national symbol, the bald eagle, is by far the most plentiful in Alaska, perhaps because of the abundance of their main food source, fish, in the state.
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  • Halibut
    Salmon may be best known, but halibut are equally interesting. They are one of the ugliest fishes in the ocean, and spend their lives flattened deep against the ocean bottom.
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  • Harbor seals
    Harbor seals are also known as “hair seals” by some locals, and they are what brought the first white settlers to Alaska in the 1700s.
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  • Humpback Whales
    Humpback whales are a common sight in the summer in Alaska.
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  • Loon
    Loons are known as “spirits of the wilderness,” and it is fitting that Alaska has all five species of loons found in the world.
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  • Moose
    Moose are among the most popular photographic subjects in Alaska, and many people are surprised at how large they are.
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  • Muskox
    Muskoxen are prehistoric-looking animals with long coats that skim the ground and horns that curl toward their faces.
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  • Orca
    Orcas, or killer whales, are black and white whales that, from a distance, look a little like dolphins or porpoises.
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  • Polar Bears
    Many people think that grizzlies are the world’s largest carnivore, but that title actually goes to the polar bear.
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  • Puffins
    Puffins are one of the most distinctive sea birds in coastal Alaska.
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  • Salmon
    It’s hard to enumerate all the wonderful characteristics of Alaska’s most ubiquitous fish.
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  • Sea Otters
    In many ways, the sea otter is responsible for the modern history of Alaska.
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  • Steller Sea Lions
    The Steller (or northern) sea lion is an impressive animal. Males reach their full size at around age eight, and at that point, can weigh nearly 1,300 pounds.
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  • Walrus
    In shape, the walrus looks a lot like his pinniped relatives, the seal and sea lion, but two major characteristics set the walrus apart
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  • Wolves
    Anyone who has ever owned a dog has heard from trainers and other authorities how much dogs resemble their genetic forebears, the wolf.
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