The Arctic is an extremely cold, windy, and mostly a frozen environment located around the North Pole. When it comes to the Arctic, people generally mean the part of the Planet beyond the Arctic Circle. Although there isn’t any land at the North Pole, the ice of the Arctic Ocean is full of life ranging from microscopic (like zooplankton) to the enormous (like whales).
There is also a lot of land in the Arctic Circle (northern areas of Asia, North American and Europe). The land within the Arctic Circle is tundra and supports less life for most other habitats due to cold temperatures, intense, dry winds and permafrost (permanently frozen soil). Long periods of dark (in the winter) and light (in the summer) also influence the life of the Arctic.
Arctic Land Areas
The most extreme Arctic land areas which are the areas closest to the North Pole is called the High Arctic Zone; this polar wilderness supports tiny animal or plants life (less than 5% of the land area is covered with vegetation) due to a very short, dry growing season, dry air, permafrost, poor soils and lack of pollination. The colder Arctic zone is known as the Low Arctic Region. This environment supports more life, with more than 90% of the land covered by hardy, cold-and-dry-adapted vegetation.
Animals living in the Arctic (either full-time or seasonal) are accustomed to harsh conditions. Some species that survive winter in the Arctic (like the Arctic fox and the ermine) have a coat that thickens and switches colour to white during the winter as a camouflage in the snow (blending in the background is called cryptic colouring).
Many species hibernate during the winter months; they enter a deep, sleep-like state in which their heartbeat slows down. They sometimes hibernate in an underground nest or hole. Some hibernators include skunks, chipmunks, and some bears (but these bears are not true hibernators, they go to a state that is closer to healthy deep sleep).
Many animals (like the Arctic tern) spend the summer seasons in the Arctic, then leave when the weather turns cold, and food is scarce (these animals return the following season, continuing this cycle year after year). This activity is called migration.
Here’s The Animals You Can Find In The Arctic:
Land Animals In The Arctic
Land animals in the Arctic have adapted to survive some of the harshest conditions on planet earth. Here are some of those remarkable animals who manage to survive the Arctic conditions to thrive in the region.
List of Land Animals In The Arctic
- Arctic Fox – Vulpes Lagopus
- Arctic Hare – Lepus arcticus
- Arctic Wolf – Canis lupus arctos
- Caribou / Reindeer – Rangifer tarandus
- Moose – Alces alces
- Dall Sheep – Ovis Dalli
- Ermine – Mustela erminea
- Lemming – Lemmus lemmus
- Musk Ox – Ovibos moschatus
- Polar Bear – Ursus maritimus
- Sea Otter – Enhydra lutris
- Snowshoe Hare / Snowshoe Rabbit
- Lepus americanus
- Wolverine – Gulo gulo
Birds That You Can Find In The Arctic
Native birds to the Arctic, i.e. those living in the Arctic region throughout the year include the Raven (although quite conspicuous), Puffin, Red-Legged Kittiwake, Rock and Willow Ptarmigan (most common winter species), Brunnich’s Guillemot, Ross’s Gull, Sabine’s Gull, Harlequin Duck, Gyrfalcon, Auks, Skua, Fulmar, and the Snowy Owl. However, some full-time residents of the Arctic were known to travel south when resources are scarce.
List of Birds In The Arctic
- Arctic Skua – Stercorarius parasiticus
- Arctic Tern – Sterna paradisaea
- Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus
- Canada Goose – Branta canadensis
- Brunnich’s Guillemots – Uria lomvia
- Ptarmigan – Lagopus muta
- Puffin – Fratercula arctica
- Snowy Owl – Bubo scandiacus
- Snow Goose – Chen caerulescen
- Arctic Woolly Bear Moth (caterpillar)
- Gynaephora groenlandica
Sea Animals You Can Find In The Arctic
List of Animals In The Arctic Seas
- Beluga Whale – Delphinapterus leucas
- Greenland Shark – Somniosus microcephalus
- Narwhal – Monodon monoceros
- Orca – Orcinus orca
- Bearded Seal – Erignathus barbatus
- Harp Seal – Pagophilus groenlandicus
- Hooded Seal – Cystophora cristata
- Ribbon Seal – Histriophoca fasciata
- Ringed Seal – Pusa hispida
- Spotted Seal – Phoca largha
- Walrus – Odobenus rosmarus
We hope you found this post about animals in the Arctic useful and informative, if you would like to learn about other animals on planet earth then check out our blog section for animal news and information from about the globe.