Plants & Animals in Alaska

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Though Alaska sees plenty of snow and bitterly cold temperatures, it is still home to a vast array of plant and animal life. These creatures and plants are adapted to live in colder climates and thrive in Alaska's tundra biome. From wolves to otters, and Black Spruces to Yellow Marsh Marigolds, Alaska is home to stunning and fascinating wild fauna and flora.

Mammals in Alaska

Alaska is home to many mammals besides the iconic polar bear. Other bears include black and brown bears, and other large predators are lynxes and wolves. Many horned herbivores live in Alaska as well, including deer, caribou, moose, elk, bison and reindeer. In the water, seals, walruses, dolphins and multiple species of whale, including blue and humpback, visit the Alaskan shores. All of these animals have special adaptations for living in such a harsh climate, such as thick layers of fat or fur that turns white to blend in with the snowy winter landscape.

Reptiles and Amphibians in Alaska

Even cold-blooded animals find a way to carve out a life in Alaska -- though not a large numbers of species. Many, such as the western toad, long-toed salamander and Columbia spotted frog, call the southeastern coastal forests their home. Wood frogs, too, live in the forests, but they are also found as far north as the Arctic Circle. A variety of sea turtles also stop by Alaska, though most have ranges throughout the Pacific Ocean. Such sea turtles include the loggerhead, leatherback, green and the olive ridley.

Trees of Alaska

Though its wintery landscape might suggest Alaska would only be home to evergreens and pines, many deciduous trees also take root. Paper birches and quaking aspens grow all the way into the interior of the state. Scouler willows are also found there, though they tend to be small in size. Needle trees are also quite common, especially species of spruce. Hemlocks, cedars and other pines also grow there. Due the dense cover of trees along the southeastern and south central part of the states, that region is considered a temperate rain forest.

Plants and Flowers

Though the growing season is short, hardy plants and flowers brighten the Alaskan landscape, though they must have a special adaptation to live in tundra conditions. For example, plants such as the pink-purple moss campion, have adapted to not grow too tall. With brisk winds in the air above, such plants have learned to live in the warmer, sheltered air as close to the ground as possible.

References

About the Author

An avid lover of science and health, Meg Michelle began writing professionally about science and fitness in 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Creighton University and master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins. Her work has appeared in publications such as EARTH Magazine.

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