Wildlife of Southeast Alaska

Most people come to Alaska with the hope of seeing a bear or an eagle but, if you go searching or just get lucky, you will find there are so many more animals to see.

Look up

High on the slopes is where you might spot a mountain goat. This alpine species has a fondness for rugged terrain and prefer to live climbing the cliffs and peaks of the mountains. You will often see mountain goats traversing above tree line or near glaciers where they can get rich nutrients from minerals deposited called salt licks. Mountain goats are easily distinguishable from Dall sheep by their black horns. What you might think is a light-colored rock when you are flying over the peaks may just be a group of mountain goats!

Look and Listen

A more common animal to jump out from hiding are the Sitka black-tailed deer. These friendly creatures roam along the roadways or can be found bounding into the brush around homes. During the summer their coat will turn a reddish-brown in exchange of their dark brown winter fur. Fawns are typically born in early June so keep a look out for the newly born deer hopping into the forest during your visit!

Look down

Yes, down! If you aren’t looking for them you might miss nature’s ultimate recycler: the Banana Slug. They eat nearly everything – living, dead and decaying plants, animal dropping, mushrooms, and more. As they vacuum the forest floor they speed decomposition, helping recycle nutrients and enriching the soil. Their slime is their secret sauce. It protects them from predators, helps them move through the forest, and prevents them from dehydration. If being the official mascot of University of California Santa Cruz wasn’t cool enough, these little cuties are also hermaphrodites!

Yeah, Bears and Eagles are also really cool, so cool that they each get their own article.



Keep Reading