With Spring just around the corner, Alaska's wildlife will be flourishing with beautiful and wonderful creatures. Birds and whales migrate back through the areas, marine mammals including seals and walruses swim the oceans, and land animals including caribou and foxes roam the lands. Here, we expand on some of our favorite animals that you may see when visiting Barrow, AK!
These foxes come in white or blue, and are short and stout in comparison to other foxes. Their squat legs, short snouts, and small, curled ears not only make them look cute but functionally help them to retain heat and survive Alaska’s freezing temperatures (as low as –58°F). They live in burrows that they dig and may tunnel in the snow during a blizzard. Their wide variety in diet allows them to feed on small mammals and rodents as well as berries, insects, eggs, birds, reptiles, fish, and even seals. Mating occurs during the spring and a mother fox may give birth up to 18 pups.
These whales are distinguished from other whales by their unique milky white color and melon-shaped heads. They reach up to 15 ft. and weigh up to 3,000 lbs when fully grown. Their thick blubber, white epidermis and lack of dorsal fins allow them to adapt to arctic environments. Belugas primarily feast on fish, however also consume a variety of invertebrates such as shrimp and squid. They use their echolocation for both prey locating and communications with each other and are typically seen in small pods of about five to six whales, however can rarely be viewed in the hundreds as well.
These are large, white owls native to the world’s arctic regions. Males are all white whereas females have flecks of black feathers throughout their bodies. While the majority of owls stay asleep during the day, Snowy Owls are awake throughout the day, meaning that you will have more chances to view one. With their yellow eyes and black beaks, these birds prey on fish, small mammals and rodents, especially lemmings. These particular birds nest on the ground and prefer sites with good visibility, especially the arctic tundras.
These large and burly members of the deer family feature the roundest and widest (concave) hooves that help them to maneuver through snowy regions and waters. Both males and females grow antlers with the males having larger and more massive antlers and the females having smaller and more spindly ones. They eat a variety of greens according to the seasons and like cows, are cud-chewing animals meaning they chew, swallow, regurgitate, then swallow again until their food is reduced to a pulp. Caribou have dual-layered fur coats which help them to survive the cold and regulate their heat through their muzzles.
The world’s largest carnivores, Polar Bears can yes, be found near the town of Barrow! Due to their thick coats and quick metabolisms, they do prefer colder temperatures although can still be seen during the Spring. These bears primarily hunt for and eat seals since seal fat allows them to maintain their body weights. They may also consume bird eggs, small mammals and other animal remains including beached whales.
In addition to the animals mentioned above, increasing temperatures will bring forth plenty of other local creatures as well, so be sure to visit Barrow, AK during the Spring and make sure to book with us here at King Eider Inn!