In case you haven't heard already: Alaska is very big, and so are the creatures that dwell here.
It's so big that it seems stupid that Texas takes the title of "Everything's Bigger in __________." The saying should be "everything's bigger in Alaska", not "everything's bigger in Texas."
It's so big it's more practical to fly a plane than drive a car everywhere.
By the numbers, Alaska is 663,600 sq miles, but that means nothing. It's like saying the federal government is going to print a trillion dollars. Seems like a big number, but it's hard to say how big. How big is Alaska?
Let's put it into context
Is Alaska bigger than Texas? California? Montana
Alaska is almost 2.5x larger than Texas, the second-largest state in the US. Texas is a mere 268,820 sq miles.
California and Montana are the third-and-fourth-largest states in the US at 163,700 sq miles and 147,040 sq miles, respectively. Alaska is about 4 times larger than both of them.
That means you could fit California, Montana, and Texas into Alaska and still have room for Idaho!
Is Alaska bigger than Australia? Europe? The Lower 48?
Australia (2,969,893 sq miles), Europe (3,930,501 sq miles), and the contiguous USA (3,119,870 sq miles) are all roughly the same size.
Australia is 4.5x larger than Alaska.
Europe is 5.9x larger than Alaska.
The Lower 48 is 4.7x larger than Alaska.
For a great tool to compare the size of different countries and geographical areas, check out MapFight.
It's not just the land that is big though. EVERYTHING is big here.
Alaska has the biggest species of deer in the world.
The Alaska Moose, Alces alces giga, is the largest subspecies of the Alces alces, a member of the New World deer family and is the largest and heaviest extant species in the deer family.
The largest Alaska moose ever recorded was shot in the western Yukon and 1,808 lb and stood 7.6 feet at the shoulder. Woah.
Alaska has BOTH of the largest bear species in the world.
While it's very close, the polar bear is considered the largest bear species of the world.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Polar bears occur throughout the northern polar region. In the winter, polar bears in Alaska are found as far south as St. Lawrence Island and occasionally move down to St. Matthew Island and the Kuskokwim Delta. In the summer, bears are most abundant around the edge of the pack ice in the Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean.
The largest males can weigh in excess of 1700 lbs, but the average is 600–1200 lbs and 8–10 feet in length. Adult females weigh 400–700 lbs.
The largest polar bear on record reportedly weighing 1,002 kg (2,209 lb), was a male shot at Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska in 1960. This specimen, when mounted, stood 3.39 m (11 ft 1 in) tall on its hindlegs. He makes the record moose look small.
The second largest species of bear is a subspecies of the Brown bear, the Kodiak brown bear, which inhabits the Kodiak Archipelago of islands in Southwest Alaska.
While there is generally much variation in size between brown bears in different areas, most usually weigh between 254 and 794 lb. The Kodiak bear, on the other hand, commonly reaches sizes of 660 to 1,320 lb, and has even been known to exceed weights of 1,500 lb. Despite this large variation in size, the diet and lifestyle of the Kodiak bear does not differ greatly from that of other brown bears.
The Eagles are Bigger Here
The Bald Eagle is a uniquely American bird. The species, considered the largest true raptor in North America, is found only in North America and is more abundant here in Alaska than anywhere else on the continent. Not only are they more abundant here, but they're larger too.
Like many raptors the females are larger than the males. As a comparison wintering female bald eagles in Arizona were found in one study to weigh an average of 10.4 lb. As a comparison the average female baldy in Alaska weighed 11.8 lb. An "outsized" female eagle here might weigh up to 16 lb. Maybe it's the abundance of salmon. Maybe they just get to the gym more here.
The Largest Mosquitoes?
A study done in 1961 by researchers showed that there are 32 different species of mosquitoes in Alaska. One of those takes the crown as both the largest species in North America: the Snow Mosquito.
While it's not the largest in the world (that crown is worn by the gigantic elephant mosquito of Australia), this hefty bug gets its name from being able to survive well in cold climates and come out early in the year. They're big and sluggish and while the males feed on fruits and plants, the females feed on mammal blood.
There you have it. I propose that Texas officially gives up the saying and we all accept that "Everything's Bigger in Alaska"