Alaska is teeming with exciting and diverse wildlife. The state is home to the largest land-dwelling carnivorous mammal, the brown bear, and even a city like Anchorage can have traffic problems caused by moose. More than 430 species of birds call Alaska home, including the bald eagle, and the coastal waters are filled with whales, otters and seals. White fur-bearing animals can be found there, too, with coats designed for camouflage in the snowy environment.
Polar bears are probably the most famous white-haired creature indigenous to Alaska. These massive bears grow up to 10 feet long and can weigh up to 1,700 pounds. Their white fur hides them in the snow as they hunt seals and other prey, and it's thick to provide plenty of warmth in the frigid temperatures. Despite their bulk, polar bears are adept and efficient swimmers, and they're technically classified not as land mammals, but as marine mammals.
Sheep and Goat
The Dall sheep and the mountain goat living in Alaska both feature white coats. Both dwell in high altitudes in the mountainous areas of the state, making them relatively rare sites. Male Dall sheep have thick, curved, brown rams' horns, while mountain goats grow short, straight black horns and shaggier coats than the sheep.
The Alaska hare, also known as the tundra hare, has an all-white coat with black-tipped ears during the winter to help it hide from predators. The coat turns white for the snowy season, but other times during the year, its hair is dusty brown with gray highlights and a white underbelly. Snowshoe hares are indigenous to Alaska. They're smaller than Alaska hares and have mostly grayish brown to yellowish fur with white underparts.
The Arctic fox is a white-haired predator roaming the Alaskan wilderness. They're fairly small hunters, typically growing to about 43 inches long and around 8 pounds, preying mostly on rodents, small birds and hares. They molt twice annually and their coats do have a blue color phase in addition to the white one. Newborns are born with dark brown fur that quickly lightens as they mature.
Ermines have long been valued by human hunters for their luxurious coats. Alaskan ermines have mostly white fur with darker tails in winter. Like the Alaskan hare, the coat turns white in winter from a reddish-brown hue during other seasons. Seven of 20 subspecies are indigenous to the state. They mostly stick to lightly wooded areas, including meadows, marshes and riverbanks. Ermines are carnivores that rely on small rodents like mice and voles for sustenance, along with the occasional shrew or hare.
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Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.