Which Mammals Live In Alaska?


I worked for a few seasons in Alaska and in my time in the state I saw many types of mammals including killer whales, humpback whales and bears. I wanted to find out which mammals live in Alaska so put together this guide.

Alaska has some of the best wildlife on the planet. Humpback whales come here to feed in summer and many other marine mammals also live or migrate through the region. Alaska has over one hundred species of mammals living on land or in the surrounding waters. The moose is the state mammal of Alaska.

Read on if you want to find out which mammals live in Alaska.

Page Contents

Alaskan Hare

The Alaskan hare is also known as the tundra hare and is found in the tundra regions of western Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula. 

They usually measure about 50 to 70 centimeters in length, with a tail of approximately 8 cm and can weigh between 2.9 and 7.2 kilograms. 

Alaskan hares are solitary during the year, apart from the mating season. These hares do not live in burrows but nest in open sites. They usually live in brushy areas that provide camouflage and protection from predators. 

They are herbivores and usually forage at dawn and dusk. The ears of this species are especially important in thermoregulation, with smaller size ears preventing heat loss in cold climates.

Alaska Marmot 

The Alaska marmot is also known as the Brooks Range marmot or the Brower’s marmot, and they can be found on the slopes of the Brooks Range in Alaska. 

The Alaska marmot feed mainly on plants, grass, berries, moss and lichen and some roots. 

They are sometimes hunted for their warm fur and as food by the Alaskan natives. 

The Alaska marmot can range from 54 cm to 65 cm in length and weigh up to 4 kilograms. 

Arctic Fox

The Arctic fox lives in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.  They live in the Arctic regions of North America, living in extreme cold temperatures, and have adapted well to their surroundings.  

They are small with a body length up to 68 cm and a weight of 3.5 kg, with females slightly smaller at 55 cm and 2.9 kg.  

Arctic foxes have thick white fur in the winter, which helps to keep them warm and camouflaged against the snow.  They curl up to minimize heat loss, tucking their head and legs under their body and tail.  

Arctic foxes live in dens which helps minimize heat loss from the Arctic wind.  The dens are southward facing to make the den warmer from the sun.  

The main diet for the arctic fox is lemmings, although they will eat any small animals including hares, fish, birds, vole, along with bird eggs and carrion.

Arctic Ground Squirrel

The Arctic ground squirrel is a squirrel that lives on the ground instead of the trees. They live in the northern regions of North America. 

Their color is gray scattered with small white spots or brown with tan spots. They measure about 39 cm and weighs from 750 to 850g. 

This species of squirrel is a herbivore eating grass, sedges, mushrooms, roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds. 

Utah prairie dog

They live in the tundra, forest clearings, grasslands, and river valleys, with a lifespan of 7 to 10 years.

Arctic Hare

The Arctic hare is a species of hare that has adapted to live in the Arctic tundra and icy cold environments. 

The fur of the Arctic hare is thick, and they usually dig holes under the snow to keep warm. This species can thrive in extremely cold temperatures and might travel with other individuals but usually live a solitary life. 

They usually measure about 43 to 70 centimeters in body length and can weigh up to 7 kilograms, although typically their weight ranges between 2.5 and 5.5 kilograms. 

Arctic hares are found in the northern parts of Greenland, Alaska, Canadian Arctic Islands, and Northern Canada. The Arctic hare is usually herbivorous, feeding primarily on woody plants and willow.

Arctic Shrew

The Arctic shrew is a midsize, solitary mammal from the northern regions of North America. 

Their colors are dark brown on the back, lighter brown on the sides, and grayish-brown on the underbody. They measure from 7.5 to 12 cm and weighs from 5 to 13 g. 

This insectivore eats insects and small invertebrates. They live in open areas near wetlands, clearings in snow forests, and conifer swamps. Their lifespan is just 18 months.

Barrenground Shrew

The barren ground shrew can be found in Alaska and northern Canada.  They have grayish-brown sides with a dark brown body.

They grow up to 8cm in length with a weight of 4g.  

The barrenground shrew is related to the St Lawrence Island Show and Pribilof Island shrew.

Bearded Seal 

The bearded seal is also known as the square flipper seal.  They are a medium-sized species of seal which is native to the Arctic Ocean. 

They can be found in a wide range spanning from Bristol Bay on the Alaskan coast to the Sea of Okhotsk on the Russian Coast. They can also be found in Canada, Norway, and Japan. 

These earless seals are grayish brown and darker on the back. Females of this species are larger than males. On average, bearded seals measure about 2.1 to 2.7 meters in body length and their body mass spans between 200 to 430 kilograms. 

The bearded seal is a a major food source for polar bears. These seals feed primarily on small marine species including clams, squid, and fish.

Beaver 

The North American beaver can reach up to 32 kg, with 20 kilograms being the average weight. They can measure 74-90cm, excluding the tail which adds a further 25-30 cm. 

The beaver is the largest rodent in North America and are semi-aquatic. They have a transparent third eyelid allowing them to see underwater. 

Beavers play an important role in the environment and are a keystone species. They are well known for building dams, canals, and lodges. They construct dams to flood areas to obtain access to food and protection.

They live in colonies, and have orange teeth due to the amount of iron they contain.  This makes their teeth stronger than regular teeth.

The beaver is a herbivore and eats bark, cambium, roots, buds, and water plants. The North American beaver lives in forests (near water bodies) in the northern parts of North America, with a lifespan between 10 to 15 years. 

Beluga Whale

The beluga is easy to spot due to its almost pure white, yellowish or pale gray color. They have no mottling on either side. 

Beluga whales grow from 9.8-18 ft (3-5.5m) with a weight of 1,100-3,500 lbs. They have a gestation period of 12-14.5 months and give birth to one calf. 

Beluga whales eat a wide variety of fish, squid, octopus and molluscs. 

They change color as they get older, with a pale gray at birth, then dark-brown to brownish-gray, then completely white at the age of ten years old. 

They can be seen close to shore, and when stranded can generally survive until the tide comes back in.

Whale calf feeding

Big Brown Bat

The big brown bat is an insectivore that eats mostly beetles, but also consumes other flying insects like moths, flies, and wasps.

They live in all types of habitats, with a lifespan ranging from 18 to 20 years. This animal carries a lot of diseases, including rabies and parasites such as tapeworms and fleas.

The big brown bat is a small, nocturnal flying mammal. They live in colonies and uses echolocation to locate objects while flying at night. The color varies from brown to black. 

They measure from 11 to 13 cm, with a wingspan from 32 to 40 cm, and it weighs from 15 to 26 g.

The species of bat lives in North America and the Carribean.

Bison 

The American bison is a large species of mammal from North America. They are also commonly called the American buffalo, although this is not quite correct. 

Their color is dark brown and gets darker in summer and lighter in winter. They measure from 2 to 2.8 m and weigh from 318 to 1,000 kg. 

The bison is a herbivore and eats grasses and sedges. They live in river valleys, grasslands, semi-arid lands, prairies, and plains. 

Their lifespan is 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity. They are no longer classed as an endangered species.

Black Bear

The American black bear is a midsize mammal from North America. Their color is not always black but can be brown, tan, or even blonde. 

They measure from 130 to 190 cm and weigh from 200 to 300 kg. The black bear is an omnivore and has a varied diet.  This consists mostly of fish, mammals, insects, grasses, roots, and berries. 

This black bear is broadly distributed in forest habitats, with an average lifespan of twenty years.

Blue Whale

The blue whale is the largest living animal to live on Earth, not just now but throughout history. 

This species of whale reaches sizes between 69-95 ft (21-29m), although they are slightly smaller in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Females are larger than males and can reach incredible weights of 90-150 tons. 

The diet of a blue whale consists mainly of krill, with some crab and squid. They are easy to spot because of their vast size, and can be distinguished by their flattened, broad, u-shaped head. 

Even though they are so large, they have a tiny dorsal fin which is set far back.

Bowhead Whale

The bowhead whale grows between 45-65 ft (14-20m) and weighs between 65 and 110 tons. Female whales are larger than males.

Bowhead whales live mainly on krill, copepods and other small and medium-sized crustaceans. 

They are a slow swimmer but can breach, flipper-slap, bobtail and spyhop. They give birth to a single calf after a gestation period of 13-14months.

Bowhead whales are named for their enormous, distinctive bow-shaped skull. They are well adapted to life in their freezing home and can break through the ice to create its breathing holes.

Brown Bear

The brown bear is a large mammal that lives in northern regions.  They are also known as the grizzly bear. 

Their color ranges from dark brown to light yellowish-brown. They measure from 1.4 to 2.8 m and weigh from 152 to 217 kg. 

Grizzly bears are omnivores and will eat roots, fruit, grass, insects, carcasses, and fish. 

They live in many habitats, including mountain forests, ice fields, and edges of deserts. Their lifespan is twenty to thirty five years.

Brown Lemming

The brown lemming is characterized by its brown-colored fur and a reddish rump. During the wintertime, the coat becomes thicker and grayer with longer hairs. 

On average, the brown lemming weighs 58-68g and grow up to 12.5-13 cm in length. Male individuals are usually bigger than females. 

Brown lemmings can be found in tundra in a wide variety of areas spanning from Northern Canada to Alaska. 

Brown lemmings mainly live underground and feed on moss. They do not migrate and fight among themselves during the mating season to protect their territory.

Bushy-Tailed Woodrat

The bushy-tailed woodrat is a rodent from the western regions. Their color is brown scattered with small black spots and white on the underbody. 

The bushy-tailed woodrat measures from 28 to 46 cm (including the tail) and weigh about 590 g. 

This omnivore eats grasses, leaves, cacti, twigs, nuts, needles, seeds, mushrooms, arthropods, and shoots. 

They live in rocky places, such as cliffs, canyons, or rocky slopes. Their lifespan is 5.8 years in captivity.

California Myotis

The California myotis is a species of vesper bat found in British Columbia in Canada and the western regions of the United States. 

They are small-sized bats, usually measuring around 70 to 94 mm in length and weighing around 3.3 to 5.4 grams. 

Their fur is pale and dull colored. They have medium-sized ears and very small feet. They are characterized by a lighter face mask than other bats. 

The California myotis usually roost in the bark of trees or rock crevices. They fly at rather slow speed compared to other species of bats.

California Sea Lion

The California sea lion is a species of eared seal native to the western regions of North America. 

Their habitat ranges from southeast Alaska to central Mexico and includes the Gulf of California. 

Males are larger than females, with males weighing up to 350 kilograms, while females up to 100 kilograms. 

California sea lions can be found laid out on sandy or rocky beaches. 

They feed on fish and various species of squid, but have to be wary of predators including killer whales and great white sharks. 

California sea lions are particularly intelligent.

Canada Lynx

The Canada lynx is a diurnal and solitary wildcat. Their paws have thicker so that they can travel through snow. 

Their color ranges from grayish-yellow to reddish-brown, and they have a black mark on the tip of their ears and tail. 

They measure from 76 to 110 cm and weigh from 8 to 18 kg. They usually live in cold, dense forests, with a lifespan of 15 years.

This carnivore eats mostly snowshoe hares but also feeds on birds, fish, rats, and sometimes deer.

Caribou 

The caribou is a type of reindeer that lives in the northern regions of North America. 

Their color changes throughout the year from dark brown in summer to grayish-brown in winter. 

They measure from 1 to 1.2 m at the shoulder and weigh from 110 to 210 kg. 

Caribou are herbivores.  They eat sedges, leaves, grasses, and mosses. They find these in the boreal forests which they call home.

Their lifespan is 10 to 15 years, and are classed as an endangered species.

Collared Pika 

The collared pika is a species of pika found in southern Alaska and the Yukon, and parts of Canada including British Columbia. 

They are a small-sized animal, which weights of 160 grams on average and measuring 17.8 to 19.8 centimeters in length. T

he dorsal side of their body is grayish, and patches on their shoulders and nape create a distinguishable collar, from which the name comes. 

Collared pikas can mainly be found in mountainous regions, and they typically inhabit rock slides near areas of vegetations and meadows. They use the rocks as protection from the high temperatures that they experience during the day. They are mainly diurnal and are herbivores.

Common Shrew 

The masked shrew is also known as the cinereus shrew and common shrew, is a small, nocturnal, and solitary animal. 

Their color is grayish-brown with a lighter grayish color on the underbody. They measure just 9 cm, with a weight of 5g. 

Masked shrews are carnivores eating insect larvae, ants, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, worms, snails, small rodents, and salamanders. 

They live in grasslands, forests, riverbanks, lakeshores, and tundra in the northern part of North America. Their lifespan is 14 months.

Cougar

The cougar is a solitary, elusive, and mostly nocturnal wildcat. They are also known as the puma, mountain lion, and catamount. 

Their color is grayish-brown with white on the underbody.  Cougars measure about 2.4 m long (including a long tail) and weigh from 53 to 100 kg. 

Photo of cougar

Cougars are carnivores with their main prey being deer.  They will also prey on elk, coyotes, mountain goats, beavers, moose, and wild sheep. Smaller cougars will prey on smaller mammals than larger cougars. 

They can live in an enormous range of habitats in North America.  They have a lifespan that ranges between 8 to 13 years.

Coyote

The coyote is a midsize canine, with the look of a domestic dog, and are thinner and smaller than the gray wolf.  Their color is grayish-brown with a white underbody. 

Coyotes measure about 1.5 m (including the tail) and weigh from 6.8 to 21 kg. Their lifespan ranges from ten to fourteen years in the wild and up to twenty one years in captivity.

Coyotes are adaptable and have an extremely varied omnivorous diet.  Their diet includes cactus fruits, flowers, insects, rodents, rabbits, birds, and reptiles. 

They can be found in most habitats across North America.

Cuvier’s Beaked Whale 

Cuvier’s beaked whales grow between 18-23 ft (5.5-7m) with a weight between 2.2 – 3.9 tons. 

They feed on squid, fish and crustaceans. They generally have scarring and shark bites on a gray or reddish-brown body. They can be recognized by a sloping forehead and a concave head. 

Cuvier’s beaked whales are known to breach.  They will generally try to avoid incidents with boats, although they are one of the most-watched beaked whales. 

Although they may be seen alone, groups of up to seven may travel together. Groups of 25 have been seen together, although this is rare.

Dall Sheep

Dall’s sheep can be found in northwestern North America.  Dall’s sheep can be found in the northern regions whereas the subspecies stone’s sheep can be found in the more southerly region.

They range from white to brown and have long curved horns.  They live in mountainous regions where they live on the steep slopes and surrounding meadows.  The terrain allows them to escape up steep slopes from predators.  

Dall’s sheep eat plants in summer, but in winter when food is scarce they will eat grasses and sedge.  

Dall’s sheep can be seen licking minerals from rocks in the spring.

Dall’s Porpoise 

The Dall’s porpoise is a very fast swimmer, and will bow-ride alongside a ship.  They rarely breach from the water. 

They grow from 5.6-7.9ft (1.7-2.4m) and weigh between 300-400 lb. They have a small, stocky shape, with black and white markings. This species has a white edge to their dorsal fin, which is in the center of their dorsal. 

They can be seen in Alaska, Aleutian Island, San Juan, Olympic Coast, Vancouver Island, California and Baja California.

Deer Mouse 

The deer mouse is a small and reclusive rodent. Their color (which resembles that of a deer) varies from gray to brown, with a white underbody. 

They measure from 8 to 10 cm (without the tail) and weigh about 20g. 

The deer mouse is an omnivore feeding on a wide variety of foods, such as seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. 

They live in many different habitats including forests, mountains, deserts, grasslands, and tropical regions throughout most of North America. 

Their lifespan is eight years in captivity and less than a year in the wild. They can carry viruses and bacteria that cause diseases to humans, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

The forest deer mouse also lives in Alaska.

Dusky Shrew

The Montane shrew is a species of mammal that is also known as the dusky shrew. 

They can be found in Alaska, Western Canada and the western areas of the United States, including Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, and California. 

They are about 95 to 116 mm long in total body length and weigh approximately 4.4 to 10.2 grams. 

The Montane shrew occupies vast niches of moist, grassy areas, usually river banks and meadows. 

Their habitat consists of coniferous forests, including taiga and high mountain subalpine and alpine forests. 

Montane shrews molt twice a year. Their pelage is commonly brown or gray, but the coloration depends on the elevation.

Elephant Seal

The Northern elephant seal is one of two species of sea elephants alive. Their name comes from their large size and the proboscis that characterizes males of this species, which is used to make loud roaring noises, especially during mating. 

Their dimensions are typically about 4 to 5 meters in body length for males, while females measure about 2.5 to 3.5 meters. Males usually weigh about 1500 to 2300 kilograms while females range between 400 to 900 kilograms.  

Males are a lot bigger than females, and a successful male can impregnate up to 50 females in one season. 

Northern elephant seals live in the eastern Pacific Ocean and spend most of their time inside the water. They can be found in British Columbia, California and Baja California. 

Some significant colonies are found in several Pacific Islands in the United States and Mexico. They primarily feed on fish and squid.

Elk

The elk is one of the largest members of the deer family. They live in the United States and southern Canada.  

Their color varies from tan to dark brown. They measure from 2.1 to 2.4 m in length and weigh between 220 to 330 kg. 

The elk is a herbivore that eats grass, leaves, bark, and brushwood. They live mainly in forests, and have an expected lifespan of ten to thirteen years in the wild.

European Rabbit

The European rabbit is a small rabbit measuring 40 cm in length with a weight of 2.6-4.4 lb.  Their ears are large measuring between 6.5-7.5 cm in length.  

The European rabbit comes in various colors, but are generally grayish-brown with hairs of black, gray or red on the body.  

They are born with a white star shape on their foreheads but this fades by adulthood.  They live in warrens with up to ten other rabbits.  

Fin Whale 

The fin whale is a large whale growing between 59-88 ft (18-27m), although slightly smaller in the Northern Hemisphere. They reach a weight between 34-100 tons. 

There are several thousand fin whales off the West Coast of America. 

They have pigmentation on their heads that is different on both sides which is rare for any species of whale. This is said to confuse their prey. 

They are the second-largest living animal on Earth after the blue whale. 

Populations of the fin whale can be seen almost year-round in the Gulf of California and British Columbia.

Fisher

The fisher is a small, solitary, mainly nocturnal, aggressive, and elusive weasel. They are related to the American marten. 

Their color varies from dark brown to black, with a lifespan of seven years in the wild and, in rare cases, up to 14 years in captivity. They measure from 75 to 120 cm and weigh from 2 to 6 kg. 

The fisher is a carnivore that eats mice, snowshoe hares, birds, cats, poultry, shrews, porcupines, and squirrels. 

Even though they move on the ground most of the time, they are also an excellent climber. 

They live in forests in the southern part of Canada and the northern and western part of the United States.  

Fisher

Glacier Bay Water Shrew 

The Glacier Bay water shrew is a species of water shrew.  They can swim underwater and also run across the water due to small hairs on their feet.  

The Glacier Bay water shrew is a small species of shrew .  They live around the flats around Glacier Bay

Gray Whale

The gray whale grows between 46-49 ft (11-15m) and reaches a weight between 18-40 tons. Females grow larger than males. 

Their diet consists of schooling fish, crabs, amphipods and mysids. They frequently approach whale-watching boats and have lots of surface activity. 

They give birth to a single calf born after a gestation period of 12-13.5 months. 

They migrate a considerable distance, sometimes up to 12,400 miles to journey between their feeding grounds and their breeding grounds.

Gray Wolf

The gray wolf is a social canine that lives in the northern regions of North America. 

The colors of the gray wolf vary a lot depending on their geographical location. They can be gray, brown, black, tan, or white. However, the predominant color is gray. The underbody is usually lighter, and sometimes white. 

Gray wolves measures from 1.05 to 1.60 m and weigh from 12 to 79.4 kg. 

Gray wolves are carnivores eating a wide variety of meat.  Gray wolves will eat deer, beavers, boar, mountain goats, bison, elk, moose, birds, fish, rodents, and hares. 

They live in a great variety of habitats, which include mountains, grasslands, forests, tundra, and deserts. 

Their lifespan is six to thirteen years in the wild and seventeen years in captivity.

Harbor Porpoise 

The harbor porpoise is a small, shy, and elusive marine mammal, and is a relative to dolphins. 

The harbor porpoise grows from 4.3-6.6ft (1.3-2m) and a weight of 110-165 lb. 

They are dark on their dorsal side and are lighter underneath.  They have a small, indistinct beak and one or more stripes from their mouth to the flipper. 

The harbor porpoise is a carnivore and mainly eats fish and sometimes octopuses and squids. 

They like to swim in shallow bodies of water and even frequents inland water bodies, such as rivers and estuaries.

They can be found in the Pacific Ocean in Alaska, Aleutian and Pribilof Island, San Juan Islands, Westport and the Olympic Coast, California and Vancouver Island. They can also be seen around Newfoundland and the St Lawrence River.

Their average lifespan in the wild is about 20 years.

Harbor Seal

The harbor seal is  also known as the common seal. Their color is brownish gray with light or dark spots, and the color is lighter on the underbody. 

They measure 1.85 m and weigh from 55 to 168 kg. 

They are carnivores and eat squid, crustaceans, shrimp, crab, mollusks, and fish. 

They live in the harbors in both the east and west coasts of the northern regions of North America. 

They can usually be found in rocks, beaches, and glacier ice, rarely moving from too far.  However, if there is a danger, they will rush to deeper water. 

They are an excellent swimmer and have a lifespan of 20 to 35 years.

Harp Seal

The harp seal is a species of earless seal.  They can be found in the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean.  

The harp seal has fur of silver-gray, with black spots and jet-black eyes.  They grow from 1.7-2.0m and weigh from 115-145 kg.  

Unlike other seals, the harp seal can dive to deep depths.  They have been spotted at over 500m deep, and can hold their breath for up to twenty minutes.  Dive depth increases in winter when there is less food at shallow depths.

Hoary Marmot

The hoary marmot is a species of marmot that has a body length ranging from 62 to 82 cm and bodyweight that is around 3.75 kg.  In winter, a fully developed adult can reach a weight of up to 7 kg. 

Inhabiting the mountains of Northwest America, the hoary marmot lives on slopes with grass, and around rocky areas which they use as protection from predators. 

They are often nicknamed the whistler due to the high-pitched alarm calls used to warn other members of the colony of possible danger. 

This species of marmot is larger than most, with short, heavy limbs.

Hooded Seal

The hooded seal gets its name from an inflatable bladder on the head of the male.  The bladder hangs over the eyes and the lips when deflated.  

They can inflate the bladder before diving underwater.  They can then inflate and deflate the bladder as they are swimming. The inflated sac can be used by the hooded seal when swimming to ward off other species when it feels threatened.  

Males have a membrane that comes out of the left nostril that produces sounds which they use to attract a mate, but mainly for signaling acoustically.

The inflatable bladder is used for accoustic signaling, threatening other species when competing for food.  The bladder also communicates information about their status and health to other members of the species.

The nostril membrane produces different sounds when shaken, depending if underwater or on land.  These signals can be used for sexual purposes to attract a mate, but are used mainly for acoustic situations and signalling.

Only males have the hood, which they develop at the age of four.  Females do not grow the bladder.

House Mouse

The house mouse is a secretive and cautious mouse that is sometimes domesticated. 

Their color is gray, black or brown with a lighter underbody. They measure from 7.5 to 10 cm (including the tail) and weigh from 40 to 45g. 

The house mouse is an omnivore eating meat, fruits, seeds, and grains. They tend to live in places where humans live. 

Their lifespan is less than one year in the wild but can be between 2 to 3 years in protected environments.

Humpback Whale

The humpback whale grows between 46-56 ft (14-17m) with a weight between 28-45 tons. 

They approach whale-watching boats and are very inquisitive. They are popular with whale-watchers due to their breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping and flipper-slapping. 

They have a gestation period of 11-12 months and give birth to one calf. 

They can be seen in many places in North America, with Hawaii, British Columbia and Alaska as particularly good places to spot them.

Humpback whale

Keen’s Myotis

Keen’s myotis can be found in the northwest part of the United States and British Columbia in Canada.  

As with most species of bats they are insectivores feeding on moths and beetles.  

Keen’s myotis can be found around the coast although they are becoming more common in urban areas.

They have a body length of 9cm with a tail length of 5cm.  Keen’s myotis is a species of long-eared bat.

Killer Whale 

The killer whale is also commonly known as the Orca, a name taken from its binomial name of Orcinus orca.  

Killer whales are the largest members of the dolphin family, growing from 6 to 8 meters long and weight 5.9 tons.  Females are smaller than males.  

They are one of the fastest marine mammals due to their size and incredible strength, reaching speeds ip to 56 km/h.  They have a black upper side with a white underside.

Least Weasel

The least weasel is also known as the common weasel or little weasel.  They are the smallest member of the genus Mustela. 

They are native to North America, but also Eurasia and North Africa. Their bodies are slender and elongated, with relatively short tail and legs. 

The average body length is around 130 to 260 mm, and they weigh between 36 to 250 grams, with males being slightly bigger than females. 

The color of the pelage of least weasels varies according to the geographical location, but underparts are usually white, and the back, limbs, and tail are a shade of brown. 

Their diet consists mainly of small rodents. Males mark their territory with olfactory signs and are strongly territorial and dominant weasels. 

Least weasels may have aggressive encounters with each other. The least weasel occupies a wide range of different habitats.

Little Brown Bat 

The little brown bat is a small North American bat. Their colors vary from light tan to dark brown, with a lighter color on its underbody. 

The little brown bat measures from 8 to 9.5 cm and weighs from 5.5 to 12.5g. 

This insectivore eats mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. The little brown bats live in most of North America. 

They will find any place to roost during the day, such as trees, caves, and rocks. In winter, this bat hibernates in caves. Their lifespan is from 6 to 7 years.

Long-Legged Myotis

The long-legged myotis is a species of vesper bat that usually inhabits the western regions of Canada and the United States. They can also be found in Mexico. 

They are the second-largest species of myotis found in the United States. Their wingspan is about 24 to 50.8 centimeters long, and their average body mass is of 7.5 grams. 

They are characterized by light-brown to chocolate brown pelage and short, rounded ears. They are also distinguishable from other bat species by the fur underside their wings, which extends to their elbows and knees.

Long-Tailed Vole

The long-tailed vole is a rodent characterized by short ears and a very long tail. Usually, they measure around 18 cm in length with an 8-10 cm long tail and weigh approximately 50 grams. 

The long-tailed vole is a rodent and can be found in different habitats, often near streams. They also live at high elevations (more than 3,500 meters above seas level), and inhabit a wide area. 

Their range extends north to east-central Alaska, the western Canadian Provinces, and south to the United States including California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. 

The long-tailed voles are active all year round and are mainly diurnal.

Marten

The American marten is a small, solitary, and nocturnal member of the Mustelidae family. 

Their color ranges from yellowish-brown to black. They measure 32 to 54 cm, and weigh from 0.5 to 1.3 kg.  

American Marten

The American Marten eats smaller animals such as squirrels, birds, and mice, but will also eat fruits and nuts. 

They are widely scattered in northern, mature conifer forests throughout the continent. They can be found both on the ground and living in trees, with an estimated lifespan of less than fifteen years.

Meadow Jumping Mouse 

The meadow jumping mouse is a solitary and mostly nocturnal North American rodent. They can jump 8 feet or more when they are disturbed. 

Their color is light brown, with a thick dark brown stripe on its back and a white underbody. They are a small-sized rodent with very long tails and feet. They measure from 18 to 24 cm (including the tail) and weigh from 11.5 to 35 g. 

The meadow jumping mouse is an omnivore eating mostly seeds, insects, and fruits. 

The meadow jumping mouse lives mostly in grasslands, thin forests and humid areas in the northern part of North America. 

Their lifespan is less than a year in the wild, but up to five years in captivity.

Meadow Vole

The meadow vole is a small, mostly nocturnal rodent. They are also known as other names such as the field mouse or meadow mouse. 

Their colors vary from yellowish or reddish-brown to dark brown, and the underbody is gray. They measure about 12 cm and weigh about 43g. 

This herbivore eats grasses, weeds, grains, seeds, bark, roots, and fruits. They live in dense grasslands and thin forests in the northern part of North America (except for the most intense polar regions). 

The meadow vole is an excellent swimmer and are also good at digging holes. 

Their lifespan ranges from 2 to 16 months. Some people consider them a pest because they cause great damage to plants, and also carry similar diseases as other rodents.

Mink

The mink is a semiaquatic mammal from Canada and the United States. Their color varies between tan to dark brown or black. 

Mink measure about 62 cm and weigh about 1 kg. 

Mink are carnivores and eat frogs, fish, salamanders, birds, muskrats, eggs, crayfish, mice, and voles. 

They live near water bodies and close to trees. Their lifespan is three years in the wild and ten years in captivity.

Minke Whale 

The minke whale grows between 21-30 ft (6.5-9m) and weighs between 5.5-10 tons. 

Their diet consists mainly of krill, crustaceans, and small fish in schools. They have a single calf after a gestation period of 10-11 months. 

They are the smallest and most abundant of the rorqual whales. They are slim, with a pointed head, and rarely shows much of itself through the water. 

There are three subspecies of the minke whale; North Atlantic, North Pacific and dwarf minke whale.

Moose 

The moose is a solitary animal with huge antlers.  Moose are the largest members of the deer family. 

Their color ranges from light to dark brown. The moose is massive, measuring from 1.4 to 2.1 m in height and from 2.4 to 3.2 m in length. They weigh from 200 to 700 kg.

Moose are herbivores and eat bark, leaves, pine cones, young branches, and fruits. Moose lives in forests in the northern part of the entire world, and have a lifespan from fifteen to twenty five years.

Mountain Goat

The mountain goat is the only species of rock-goat (rupicarpine) in North America.  Mountain goats live in the Cascade Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Washington, Idaho and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Mountain goats prefer rocky cliffs, slopes and meadows as their habitats.  Mountain goats prefer the safety of the cliffs to keep them away from predators.  They spend about seventy five percent of their lives on rocky cliffs.  

Mountain goat

Mountain goats feed on the cliff faces, grazing on the vegetation.  Mountain goats are amazing climbers and spend time on cliff faces up to 60 degrees steep.

Due to their northern habitats mountain goats migrate during the winter southwards.

Mountain goats grow up to 1500 cm in length and weigh up to 136 kgs.  Males grow larger than females.

Muskox

The muskox is a hoofed mammal found in Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and parts of Alaska and Canada. 

Muskox are characterized by a thick coat and a strong odor emitted during the seasonal rut by males. Both males and females have long and curved horns. 

Muskox measure between 1.1 to 1.5 meters high and have an average body length spanning from 150 to 250 cm, with females being smaller than males. Their average weight is 285 kilograms. 

During the summer, these animals live in wet areas such as river valleys and move to higher elevations in the winter period to avoid deep snow. 

Muskox primarily feed on grasses, lichens, mosses and Arctic willows. Their primary predator is the wolf. Muskox live in herds of about 10 to 20 individuals.

Muskrat 

The muskrat is the only species of the genus Ondatra. The muskrat is a midsize, mostly nocturnal, semiaquatic rodent from North America. Their colors vary from brown to black, with a lighter underbody. 

Muskrats measure from 40 to 70 cm and weigh from 600 grams up  to 2 kg. Their lifespan is 3 to 4 years.

The muskrat is an omnivore and eats aquatic vegetation, farm and garden plants, roots, pondweed, fruits, vegetables, snails, salamanders, crustaceans, fish, and birds. 

They live in wetlands in the northern part of North America. They are considered as a pest because of the destruction it causes in the places where they live and the diseases that they can carry.

The fur of the muskrat is thick and short of a dark-brown color. Their tails are covered with scales which help them swim rapidly and with ease. 

Muskrats spend the majority of their time in the water and can swim underwater for up to 17 minutes. This species usually lives in a group made up of a male, female and their offspring. 

Muskrats make nests to protect themselves from the cold temperatures and predators. The nests are usually burrows with an underwater entrance.

Narwhal 

Narwhals are easy to spot due to their tusks, with males generally being the only ones to grow this. Occasionally they will grow two, and sometimes a female will grow a tusk. 

Narwhal measure between 12.1-14.6 ft (3.7-5m) and weigh between 1,500-4,000 lb. The male’s tusk can grow up to 9.8 ft (3m). Males grow larger than females. 

They have light and dark mottling, with a small head and short beak. Narwhals change in color as they grow older, with very old animals appearing entirely white. 

Young narwhals are blotchy gray or brown, turning gray then black, then a mottled light and dark color before eventually turning white. 

narwhal

North American River Otter

The river otter is a smart, semiaquatic mammal found in the northern states.

The river otter has short, very dense fur. Their colors vary from gray to brown, with a lighter underbody. 

They measure from 66 to 107 cm and weighs from 5 to 14 kg. 

River otters are carnivores eating fish, turtles, frogs, crayfish, and insects. 

They live in aquatic habitats in the northern part of North America. Their lifespan is eight to nine years in the wild and fifteen to twenty years in captivity.

North Pacific Right Whale

The North Pacific right whale measures between 49-65 ft (15-17m) with a weight of 34-90 tons. 

Females grow larger than males, and both genders are almost identical in appearance to the North Atlantic right whale, although they can grow a little larger. 

North Atlantic Right Whale

They are one of the most critically endangered species of whale, with an estimated population of 400-500 in the world today. 

Northern Bog Lemming 

The Northern bog lemming is a small-sized lemming found in the meadows of Canada, Alaska, northern Washington, and New England. 

They grow up to 13 cm long and weigh around 30 grams. They have a short tail and small eyes, with rust-colored hairs at the base of their ears. 

Generally, their bodies are covered with grey or brown fur. These rodents are active during the entire year and are both diurnal and nocturnal. 

They usually come up to the surface to look for food. They typically live in small colonies with other lemmings.

Northern Collared Lemming 

The northern collared lemming can be found in Canada and northern regions of the United States including Alaska.

They are gray with a black stripe along their back.  They have a short tail and small ears.  Like the ermine and the arctic fox their fur turns white in winter to help camouflage them from predators.

They grow up to 16 cm long and weigh up to 40g.  

They feed on vegetation and plat material including sedges, grasses and twigs.  

They are also known as the Bering lemming or nearctic collared lemming.

Northern Flying Squirrel 

The Northern flying squirrel is one of three flying squirrels in North America. 

Their habitat is coniferous and mixed coniferous forests. They live in Canada, and the United States from Alaska to Nova Scotia, North Carolina, Utah and Oregon. 

They are clumsy on the ground but efficient climbers and gliders. They have a furry membrane between their front and hind legs which they use to glide from tree to tree. Flying squirrels are nocturnal with excellent vision. 

Their length reaches between 25 to 37 centimeters, and they usually weigh between 110 and 230 grams. 

Their color varies from gray to dark brown, with white on its underbody and a flat tail and big eyes. They also have large whiskers which they use to sense their way around at night.

This omnivore eats nuts, acorns, fruits, buds, fungi, insects, bird eggs, and lichens. The Northern flying squirrel lives in forests in the northern part of the continent with a lifespan of four years.

Northern Fur Seal

The Northern fur seal is a member of the Otariidae family.  They are the largest member of the subfamily Arctocephalinae and the only living member of genus Callordhinus.

Male Northern fur seals have a black or gray thick fur, with a mane of yellowish or silver-gray long guard hairs from the shoulders up to the neck. 

They have an underfur which is more creamy colored.  Females are silver-gray or charcoal on top, with their sides, underside and chest are tan or cream.

Portrait of a cute fur seal swimming in the waterPortrait of a cute fur seal swimming in the water

Males are much larger than females, with a weight up to 270 kg.  Males can measure up to 2.1 meters.  Females are smaller, weighing up to 50 kg, with a length of 1.5 meters.  

Northern fur seals are excellent swimmers, using their forelimbs to propel themselves forward.  They use different stroke patterns for different dive patterns.

Northern fur seals can be found along the west coast of the United States and Canada, from California all the way up to Alaska.  

Northern Red-Backed Vole 

The Northern red-backed vole can be found in the northwest regions of the United States and Canada.  

They live in scrubland and forest and feed on a diet of mainly plants.  These include forbs, fungi, lichens, leaves, buds and twigs.  They are also know to eat insects occasionally although these do not make up a large part of their diet.

The Northern red-back vole measure up to 17.5cm long including their tail with a weigh up to 40g.  They are a light rusty brown color with a short tail.

They built their nests under rocks, roots, fallen trees or in burrows.

Northern Right-Whale Dolphin 

The Northern right whale dolphin is a large species of dolphin, measuring 10.2ft (3.1m), although only weighing 250 lb. 

They are distinctive in appearance as being the only dolphin in the North Pacific without a dorsal fin. They are black with a lighter white underside. 

They travel with other dolphins including Risso’s dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins. 

They can often be seen in British Columbia and California including around Monterey Bay. 

Although most schools are spotted with 100-200 animals, superpods of 3,000 have been seen.

Norway Rat

The Norway rat is also known as the brown rat.  They are a rodent that lives all over the world. Their color is brown with a lighter color on the underbody. 

The brown rat measures from 15 to 28 cm and weigh from 140 to 500 g. 

The brown rat is an omnivore, eating seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, eggs, birds, mice, small rabbits, fish, and insects. 

They live in forests, urban and suburban areas, and have a lifespan of two years.

Norway rat

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

The Pacific white-sided dolphin grows from 7.5-8.2ft (2.3-2.5m) with weights between 360-440 lbs. 

The can be found around the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound, Alaska, Olympic Coast, California, Vancouver Island and Baja California. 

They have a pattern of gray and black along the flank with dark flippers and flukes. They have a lighter underside, with a white lower jaw. They give birth to a single calf after a period of 12 months.

Polar Bear

Polar bears are classed as marine mammals.  They range throughout the arctic regions, with the limits of their range limited by the ice pack of the ocean.  

Polar bears will travel large distances, as far as 1,000 km as the ice melts and freezes.  

Polar bears are exceptionally large.  They can weigh up to 800 kg, reaching a length of 2.5 meters in length.  Females are smaller weighing up to 300 kg, and reaching a length of 2 meters.  

Polar bears have a white appearance to their pelage, but this can change to brown, gray or yellowish depending on the season.  The skin of a polar bear is black, and their fur is translucent.  The white appearance is from light being shone through the hair strands.  

Polar bears are excellent swimmers, with large paws to help them swim.  

Polar bears are carnivores, feeding mainly on ringed seals and bearded seals.  They will also feed on walruses, hooded seals, sea birds, fish and other small mammals.  

They mainly consume the blubber from seals, leaving behind the meat.  The blubber has high calories, important for the polar bear to maintain a fat layer that insulates them in the cold temperatures.

Porcupine

The North American porcupine is the second-largest rodent found in North America. Their back is covered with strong quills, made of keratin. 

They can be easily recognized by quills, that are solid at the tip and base and present around all its body, except for the stomach.  The quills are used as a defense mechanism.

North American porcupines have a color that is dark brown or black with hairless feet.. They measure from 60 to 90 cm without counting the tail which measures around 14.5 up to 30 cm. They weigh from 4.5 to 18 kg.

They are herbivorous eating leaves, seeds, grass, nuts, buds, fruits, and green plants. They are often found climbing on trees to eat leaves. 

Porcupine

The porcupine lives mostly in forests, deserts, and grasslands in the northern part of North America, with a lifespan of about 30 years. 

This species of porcupines are endangered because due to hunting and also because of loss of habitat.

Pribilof Island Shrew

The Pribilof Island Shrew is an endangered species of shrew.  They face extinction from livestock farming and ranching.  

They can be found on Saint Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands where they can be found along coastal regions.   

Pygmy Shrew

The American pygmy shrew is a small mammal from the north of the continent.  Their color ranges from reddish-brown to grayish brown, and the pygmy shrew has a light color on their underbody.  

This species of shrew measures up to 5 cm and weighs from just 2 to 4.5 g. 

The American pygmy shrew is an insectivore and will eat insects and larvae.  They live in coniferous and deciduous forests, with a lifespan of about 16 to 17 months.

Raccoon

The raccoon is a nocturnal midsize mammal.  Their color is gray, brown or black.  They have a white face with a black mask around its eyes. 

They measure from 40 to 70 cm and weigh from 5 to 26 kg. 

The raccoon is an opportunistic omnivore eating fruit, plants, oak nuts, insects, worms, rodents frogs, nuts, eggs, and crayfish. 

Raccoons live in forests, suburban, and urban areas in the Central and southern states of North America. The average lifespan of a raccoon is two to three years.

Red Fox

The red fox is a midsize fox that lives in the northern region of North America. 

The color varies from light yellow to red, with dark legs, and a white underbody. They measure from 45 to 90 cm and weigh from 2.2 to 14 kg. Their lifespan is between two to five years. 

The red fox is an omnivore eating grasses, fruits, corn, apples, oak nuts, cherries, berries, mice, birds, rabbits, squirrels, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and crayfish. 

The red fox lives in forests, grasslands, mountains, deserts, and suburban areas.

Red Squirrel

The red squirrel is a small, solitary, and diurnal animal. Their color is gray, red or dark brown, with white on its underbody, and sometimes has black stripes on its sides. 

They measure from 28 to 35 cm (including the tail) and weighs from 200 to 282 g. 

The red squirrel eats sunflower seeds and all types of nuts. They are arboreal, living in coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests, with a lifespan of 5 to 10 years.

Ribbon Seal

The ribbon seal is an earless seal from the family Phocidae.  The ribbon seal is the only species of Histriphoca.

Ribbon seals are named for their fur which has four white markings (ribbons) on black skin.   These are a circular marking on both sides, a ribbon around the tail and a strip around the neck.  

Females have a much less conspicuous difference in color than males between the ribbons.  

Pups are born with white fur, but over the three years after birth they begin to develop darker portions of their fur which become dark rings.  

The ribbon seal has an air sac that is inflatable, and is used for vocalizing underwater.  

Male and female ribbon seals grown to the same lengths and weights, weighing up to 95 kg ad growing 1.6 meters long.

Ribbon seals live around Alaska, but have been found in Long Beach, Seattle,  Washington and as far South as Morro Bay in California.

Ringed Seal

The ringed seal is also known as the jar seal, netsik or nattiq and is a species of earless seal usually inhabiting the Arctic and sub-Artic regions. 

They are relatively small-sized seals and rarely measure more than 1.5 meters in length. The average dimensions span between 100 to 175 cm in body length and their body mass is usually between 32 to 140 kilograms. 

These seals are characterized by a distinct pattern of dark spots surrounded by light gray rings that give rise to their common name. 

They can be found throughout the North Hemisphere throughout the Arctic Ocean into the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay in Alaska and Okhotsk Sea in Russia and the North Atlantic coasts of Greenland and Scandinavia. 

They prefer to rest on the ice floe and tend to move farther north for denser ice. They remain in contact with ice most of the year and pup on it in late winter and early spring. 

Ringed seals feed on a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. Fishing is a solitary behavior. 

They are an important food source for polar bears and have been an important component of the diet of Arctic indigenous people for many years.

Risso’s Dolphin

Risso’s dolphin look completely different from any other species of dolphin. They are heavily scarred, either from squid or from each other when playing or fighting. 

They have a bulbous, large head with a beak that is not distinct. They have a crease on the front of the melon, with the dark dorsal fin, flipper and flukes. 

Risso’s dolphin are various colors, ranging from light white to dark gray. 

They are a large dolphin growing from 12.5-13.5 ft (3.8-4.1m) and weighing from 660-1,100 lb.

Sea Otter

The sea otter is a marine mammal that can be found on the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. They usually weigh between 14 and 45 kilograms and are about 1.2 to 1.5 meters in total body length. 

They are considered to be the largest members of the weasel family but are one of the smallest marine mammals. 

Their primary form of insulation is a thick coat of fur, and are capable of living exclusively in the ocean. 

They feed mostly on marine invertebrates such as urchins, mollusks and crustaceans and some species of fish. 

In the past, sea otters were hunted extensively for their fur, which led to a major decrease in their population. However, conservation efforts and reintroduction programs have managed to successfully re-establish sea otters’ presence in their natural habitat. They are still listed as endangered species. 

Their pelage is usually brown. They are diurnal animals that tend to rest together in single-sex groups called rafts. A raft might contain from 10 to 100 individuals. Male rafts are usually bigger than female ones. 

They can be found in areas with protection from the most severe ocean winds such as rocky coastlines and barrier reefs.

Sei Whale 

The sei whale is a large marine mammal, measuring from 39-52 ft (12-18m) and weighing between 17-45 tons. The females are larger than males. 

There are no commercial whale-watching operations anywhere dedicated to watching this species of whale. They do not gather in the same areas from one season to the next as most whales do, making them elusive. 

They have a more varied diet than most other baleen whales.  Their diet includes krill, copepods, crustaceans and schooling fish. They are mostly dark gray or brown, with a prominent dorsal fin.

Short-finned Pilot Whale 

The short-finned pilot whale is medium-sized, growing from 12-23 ft (3.6-7.2m) and weighing between 1.1-3.9 tons. 

They are dark gray, brown or black with a gray patch behind the fin. Short-finned pilot whales are stocky, with a round forehead and almost non-existent beak. 

They have a large dorsal fin which is set forward on the body but arches backwards. 

They typically travel in groups of 15-50 individuals, but groups of several hundred have been seen together.  

Short-tailed Weasel

The short-tailed weasel is also known as the ermine. Ermine are solitary weasels that live in the northern part of the continent. 

Their color is dark brown on the back and white on the underbody during the summer. In winter, their color changes to almost pure white. 

The ermine measures from 17 to 32 cm and weigh about 260 g.  The ermine is a carnivore that eats mainly rodents but will also eat birds, fish, amphibians, small reptiles, and insects. 

They live in taigas and tundras, with a lifespan of four to six years in the wild.

Silver-haired Bat 

The silver-haired bat is a nocturnal, solitary mammal from the central part of North America. They use echolocation when flying to guide them and to find food.

Their color is normally black, but can sometimes be dark brown, with gray tips to their fur.  

They measure about 10 cm and weighs from 8 to 12 g. This insectivore eats flies, leafhoppers, moths, mosquitoes, beetles, bugs and ants, which they find in forest habitats.

Their average lifespan is 12 years, and they migrate to warmer climates in winter.

Singing Vole

The singing vole can be found in Alaska and the northwestern regions of Canada.

Their name comes from a vocalization which is used as a warning.  The sound is a trill that is high-pitched.  The warning call is usually given by one singing vole from just inside the entrance to its burrow.

They can grow up to 20cm in total length and weigh up to 60g.

They live above the tree line in tundra regions, preferring to live in open slopes and flats with plenty of plant material.

Singing voles feed on vegetation and plants.

Sitka Deer 

Sitka deer are also known as Sitka black-tailed deer.  They are a subspecies of mule deer that can be found in Sitka in Alaska and in British Columbia in Canada.

They can be found in the Alexander Archipelago, Queen Charlotte Island, Prince William Sound, Skagway, Kodiak Island and Haines.

Sitka deer are smaller than most subspecies of mule deer weighing up to 90kg.

Their color darkens in fall to a gray-brown from a reddish-brown in summer.  

Snowshoe Hare 

The snowshoe hare is also called the varying hare or snowshoe rabbit, taking this the name because of the large size of the hind feet.   

They are a hare from the northern region of North America. 

The snowshoehare lives in boreal and montane forests of North America.

They have wide paws for moving in the snow. Their feet prevent these rabbits from sinking in the snow when hopping and walking. They are covered with fur on the soles too, for protection against freezing temperature. 

Snowshoe hare

Their color is brown in summer and white in winter but always has a gray underbody. They can be distinguished by black tufts of hair on the edge of their ears and by the relatively small size of their ears compared with other hares. 

Their lifespan is five years. They usually measure about 36 to 52 centimeters and can weigh 1.3 to 1.7 kilograms as adults. 

The snowshoe hare is a herbivore and eats grass, leaves, ferns, buds, twigs, evergreen needles, small stems, and bark. They adapt their diet according to the season. They usually feed on grass, fens, and leaves during the summer and turn to twigs and bark in the wintertime.

Southern Red-Backed Vole 

The Southern red-backed vole is a mostly nocturnal, small mammal from the central part of North America. Their color is gray, with a red stripe on its back, and an underbody of gray or white. 

The Southern red-backed vole measures from 7 to 11.2 cm and weighs from 6 to 42 g. They have a lifespan of 10 to 20 months. 

This species of vole is an omnivore eating insect, grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, leaves, roots, bark, fungi, and lichens. 

They live in coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests near water bodies in southern Canada and the northern United States.

Sperm Whale 

Sperm whales grow between 36-52 ft (11-16m) with a weight between 15-50 tons. 

They have a dark gray-body with a squarish head and a hump instead of a dorsal fin. 

Their blowhole is slit-like, and they can often be seen laying motionless at the surface of the water. They have a single calf after a long gestation period of 14-16 months.  

Spotted Seal

The spotted seal can be found around the Pacific Ocean in Alaska during the summer seasons where the water is relatively ice-free.  

Spotted seals are similar in size to to harbor seals, often sharing the same areas, leading to misidentificaion.  They measure 1.5 to 2.1 meters, and weigh between 81 to 109 kg.  They can live  to an age of 35 years.

Spotted seals can dive up to 1,000 ft to find prey.  The eat crustaceans, krill, herring, cod, capelin and pollock.  

There are approximately 200,000 seals around Alaska, leading to U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to state that they were not in danger of becoming extinct, or likely to become in the foreseeable future.  There are thought to be 335,000 – 450,000 spotted seals Worldwide.

portrait of cute spotted seal

Spotted seals get their name from the patterns of their coat, which is lightly colored with dark spots.  They have a round head, small body and narrow snout.  

St. Lawrence Island Shrew 

The St. Lawrence Island shrew is an endangered species of shrew that can be found only on St.Lawrence Island.

St. Matthew Island Vole

The insular vole is a rodent species which is only located on St Matthew Island and Hall Island in Alaska. 

Their average size spans between 90-115 mm, and they usually weigh 25 grams on average.

These animals are primarily diurnal and follow a vegetarian diet. 

Natural predators are birds and Arctic foxes.  Arctic foxes are the only other mammal that can be found on the islands of St. Matthew and Hall Island.

Stejneger’s Beaked Whale 

Stejneger’s beaked whale is a medium-sized whale. They grow between 15.7-18.7 ft (4.8-5.7m) with females slightly larger than males. Their weight is between 1.1-1.8 tons. 

They can be seen in groups of 5-15 and eat mainly squid. Not much is known about them, with a single skull being the only evidence for a long time. 

Some are almost black, but most are brownish-gray with scarring on the body. They have a dark mask from the eyes to the blowhole, with the rest of the face being lighter. They have a small dorsal fin one-third from the back.

Steller Sea Lion

The Steller sea lion is also known as the northern sea lion.  They are a species of sea lion typically found in the northern Pacific. 

They are considered to be the largest species of eared seals and take their names from the naturalist George Wilhelm Steller, who first described them in the mid-18th century. 

These animals measure about 2.3 to 2.9 meters in length on average and weigh between 240 to 350 kilograms. 

Males are slightly longer than females and can be distinguished by broader foreheads and thicker hair around their neck. 

The range of these seals extends from Russia to the Gulf of Alaska and the Ano Nuevo Island off the coast of Central California. 

Steller sea lions usually live in the coastal waters of the subarctic and spend most of their time in the water. They are skilled and opportunistic marine predators. 

They primarily feed on a wide variety of fish and are hunted by killer whales and great white sharks.

Striped Dolphin

The striped dolphin takes their name from the dark stripes that run down the sides of their bodies. 

They have a gray or blue-gray cape on the dorsal side, with stripes from the eye to the flipper along their sides. They can have stripes with colors of pink and blue on their sides as well. 

They grow from 5.9-8.9 ft (1.8-2.7m) and weigh from 200-360 lb. 

They have some amazing behaviors, able to leap up to 23 ft, with belly flops and somersaults seeming no trouble. 

They also roto-tail when they come out of the water. This involves moving their tails in circles as they leap out of the water.  

Tiny Shrew

The tiny shrew is also known as the Etruscan shrew.  This species of shrew is known as the smallest known mammal by a mass with a weight of less than 2g.

The Etruscan shrew grows to a length of just 4cm.  As with many other species of shrew the tiny shrew has to eat a lot of food to keep up with its metabolism.  This species of shrew can eat up to 2 times its own body weight in one day.

They feed mainly on insects the same size or smaller than itself.

Tundra Vole

The tundra vole is a medium-sized rodent found in Northern and Central Europe, North America and Asia. 

They are about 18 cm long and weigh about 50 grams. This species is found in tundras or meadows and generally live near water sources. 

The tundra vole is not commonly seen as it primarily lives underground. They like to store seeds and roots in the burrows they dig. 

The population of the tundra vole can vary greatly from year to year in a given area. Their fur is yellowish-brown.

Walrus

The walrus is a large marine mammal with a weight of more than 2,000 kg, although most weigh up to 1,700 kg.  Males are larger than females.  

They are similar in body shape to sea lions and seals.  They have two long tusks at the front of their teeth, which can reach to a massive 1 m (3ft 3in).  

As with some other animals, walrus with the largest tusks are the leaders of their groups.  They also use their tusks to make holes in the ice on which they live and also helping them to get out of the water.

Water Shrew 

The water shrew is a semiaquatic mammal found in the western regions of North America. They are also called the Pacific water shrew or the marsh shrew. 

Water shrews are dark brown. They measure about 16 cm and weigh from 14.5 to 16 g. 

The water shrew is an insectivore eating spiders, bugs, worms, centipedes, and termites. They live in forests and near water bodies such as marshes with a lifespan of about 18 months.

Western Heather Vole 

The western heather vole can be found throughout Alaska.  They can be found in coniferous forests, wet meadows, willow thickets and forest edges.

The heather vole is a herbivore feeding on berries, seeds, fungus, lichen and shrubs.  They collect their food for later use storing it in their burrows.  Food is collected at night for use during the day.  

The nest of the western heather vole has a hidden entrance with several tunnels leading off.  Nests are usually hidden under a log stump or rock.

Males and females are approximately the same size with a weight up to 40g and a length of 15 cm.

Western Jumping Mouse 

The Western jumping mouse has measurements ranging between 22 to 25 centimeters in length and weighs between 17-40 grams. 

These mice might resemble the common mouse because of their dark fur. However, they are smaller and have longer legs. 

In terms of diet, they are omnivorous spending most of their time during the summer building up the fat reserves to be used during their winter when they hibernate.  

They like to live under dense grasslands or thick brushes, where they are more difficult to find by predators.

Wolverine

The wolverine resembles a small bear, but is the largest member of the Mustelidae family.

They are ferocious, and have a huge amount of strength for their body size.  They are the size of medium dog, but can take down prey many times their size, such as elk. 

wolverine

They live in cold climates, with thick, oily fur which is resistant to frost.  They are dark in color, with a light mask on their face, and a bushy tail.   

They have been called the skunk-bear due to the scent glands that they use to mark their territory.

Woodchuck

The woodchuck is also known as the groundhog or the red monk.  They are typical of the eastern regions of the United States, Canada, and Alaska. 

Males are usually bigger than females, but their weight changes considerably across different seasons. Generally, they measure 42 to 68.5 cm, although their weight ranges during the year from 2 to 6.5 kilos. 

They are a diurnal animal that on average lives two to three years. They enjoy staying in the open air, and they are very territorial animals that live in colonies.

Yellow-Cheeked Vole

The taiga vole gets its name from living in the boreal taiga zone.  They can be found in Alaska and northwestern Canada.

They are sometimes called the yellow-cheeked vole or the chestnut-cheeked vole due to the color of their face.

They measure up to 23cm in length and have a weight of 170g.

Taiga voles can’t go without food for more than 24 hours or they may die due to a simple metabolism. 

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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