A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 36°/52°/Mostly sunny
Fairbanks: 30°/56°/Mostly sunny
Juneau: 36°/55°/Mostly cloudy
A snowy white baby Dall sheep has a new home at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage.
Alaska is the place to see moose, sheep, bears, eagles, caribou, whales and more.
Where to find: Wolves inhabit as much as 85 percent of Alaska, but they're rarely seen.
Where to find: Look -- and listen -- for loons on lakes. The entire state has loons of one species or another -- common, yellow -billed, red-throated, Pacific and arctic.
Where to find: After being reintroduced in the 1930s, musk oxen took hold on Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea.
Animals amuse boat passengers with diving, eating
Where to find: Look for sea otters close to shore, close to kelp beds and away from predators such as killer whales (orcas).
Passengers on cruise liners, excursion boats and charter fishing boats often come across sea otters. Paddling a kayak in protected waters often puts a vacationer within a few feet of the sometimes-curious otters.
Tips: The sea otter belongs to the weasel family, along with the river otter and the mink.
Adult males can reach 100 pounds and females 60 pounds, a weight belied by the gracefulness with which they float and dive.
Russian crews first came to Alaska to collect sea otter pelts, said to be possibly the finest fur in the world, and nearly took the population to extinction. (Hunting is no longer allowed.) The pelt has dense underfur of brown, inch-long hair and sparse guard hairs. Older sea otters often develop a silvery head.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, sea otters are adept at handling food with the toes on their front feet, feeding themselves sea urchins, crabs, clams, mussels, octopus and fish. After diving as far as 250 feet down and returning with food, they roll onto their backs, put the food on their chests and eat it piece by piece. Wild sea otters never eat on land.
Sea otters depend on air trapped in their fur, not on body fat, for maintaining body temperature. If the fur becomes soiled or matted by material such as oil, the insulation qualities are lost. This results in loss of body heat and eventual death. For this reason, otters spend much time grooming their fur to keep it clean.