In case you were wondering what animals live in Antarctica, we have the answer for you!
Antarctica is a fascinating place. The temperature of Antarctica ranges from minus ten degrees to minus sixty degrees on average, rendering the continent uninhabitable for humans. While there’s still a human presence in Antarctica, the quantity couldn’t be smaller.
However, lots of species have adapted to the frost. The animals that live here have thick fur and a layer of fat that produces warmth in their body. And then again, most of them are dependent on the ocean for their food.
In this article, we’ll explore various species that you’ll find in Antarctica, should you choose to visit there!
Penguins, whales, and seals are the major attraction of Antarctica, that’s for sure. However, this majestic place is the home of small midges, immortal water bears, and mites.
In any place of the world, bugs and pests are very annoying for us. They fly around our heads and contaminate our food. The picture is opposite in Antarctica. The invertebrates here love to keep to themselves and won’t even dare to bother other animals.
Another thing that’ll startle you is their size. They are so small that the largest invertebrate, the wingless midge, is only 13 millimeters long. Scientists and researchers have recorded only 67 species of invertebrates in Antarctica. While the number is extremely low, given the condition of the environment, it seems normal.
Even if the temperatures of Antarctica dropped down to a hundred degrees more, Tardigrades, also known as the water bears, would still survive. These microscopic animals are completely immortal. They can withstand extreme cold, warmth, and radiation. Fun fact, they can even revive themselves if they’re dead!
Pygoscelis antarcticus is the scientific name of Chinstrap penguins. With the size of only 28 inches and weighing only seven to eleven pounds, these penguins are the smallest penguins you’ll find in all of Antarctica.
How to recognize Chinstrap penguins? Just look for the black band that runs across their chins. There are major breeding communities of these penguins in Antarctica, that’s why you’ll find them in abundance in those seasons particularly.
These penguins are adept at making circular nests by assembling stones. Typically, the female Chinstrap penguins will lay 2 eggs in her nest. The parents share the responsibilities of taking care of the eggs. The same is true when they take care of their children.
Whale and seal hunting increased during the twentieth century; as a result, the number of whales and seals decreased a lot. Because of this, the primary food of these creatures increased in abundance. On the other hand, as leopard seals decreased, so did the threats for these penguins. Thus, they grew a lot in number.
These penguins do look cute. But trust me, you don’t want to go anywhere near them. They can be pretty annoying with their ability to poop in a projectile.
Elephant seals can look very intimidating due to their size. These carnivorous mammals can be as large as twenty feet. A typical elephant seal lives for twenty to twenty-two years.
Elephant seals can be found in California as well. These are called the Northern seals. However, Northern seals are a lot smaller and live for a shorter time compared to the southern seals. The Antarctic ocean is rich with small critters, fish, and squid. The elephant seals live on this seemingly endless resource.
Elephant seals can be very aggressive when it comes to breeding. During their breeding seasons, the male seals take up an area of their own that consists of around forty to fifty females. Male elephant seals argue, or sometimes even fight with each other to gain dominance over the females.
Once, these animals were hunted for their oil; they were hunted so much that this species was almost extinct. However, the species was brought back from the brink of destruction as legal laws were enacted against seal and whale hunting.
Being the largest of all penguin species, the Emperor penguins earned their name. However, these penguins aren’t only large, but they’re elegant as well. These animals can be as long as forty-five inches. As the climate of Antarctica is very chilly, they huddle up with one another to escape the biting wind. The process is very interesting as well.
The penguin that has been at the interior and has gathered some warmth will slowly move to the exterior sides at once, replacing the ones in need of warmth. This process alone is enough to express the unparalleled teamwork these penguins have.
The male penguins protect the eggs from the environment. Unlike other animals, Emperor penguins don’t sit on their egg. Instead, they balance them on their legs and protect them with a brood pouch. A brood pouch is a feathered skin that can protect the eggs from harm.
Leopard seals are the third largest among the seals. They can grow up to ten feet in length, which is approximately half as elephant seals. They weigh around six hundred kilograms. These seals evolved in such a way that they can jet across around twenty-five miles in an hour.
These seals prefer staying alone. While seals tend to remain in packs, leopard seals aren’t seen with more than one or two others. The only time they will choose to be others is when they breed. However, due to their nature, scientists are yet to find out the breeding process of these seals. The seals are known as leopard seals because of their dotted fur.
Guess what? Leopard seals can sing and smile. As the mouth of these seals is a bit curled, it seems as if they are smiling. However, don’t mistake them for a potential happy animal, as they are quite ferocious. Again, during the breeding seasons, these seals sing underwater. Currently, their songs are being recorded and analyzed for further information.
Leopard seals can live as long as twenty-six years if they can maintain a healthy diet and remain free from harm. Then again, these seals have a convenient environment for them. They have a lot of prey and not many predators. The only animal they keep an eye out for is killer whales.
These graceful giant birds can be found in the Antarctic. Albatross can live up to fifty years, and they’re the largest birds in the world. Their wings can extend up to eleven feet! With their huge wings, these birds glide across the Antarctic for hours without a single flap! They can even float on the water surface as well.
Albatross are solitary animals, and they gather only in breeding seasons. Young albatross learns to fly within a year. They usually leave after they learn flying and come back after five to ten years. This is the time when they mature sexually.
Albatross depends on fishes and squids. However, they follow ships sometimes, expecting to find garbage left behind by the sailors. Humans and albatross go back a long way. Once, they were hunted, as their feathers were sought after for making hats. Then again, people hunted them for their bones as well. It’s speculated that once albatross was hunted for food as well.
Blue Whales are magnificent animals. These are the largest animals you’ll find in the entire world. They can live as long as eighty to ninety years and can grow up to a hundred feet! Typically, these whales weigh around 200 tons.
While they are extremely large, the diet of blue whales can be pretty confusing. They live on a diet that consists of small shrimps, commonly known as krills. On average, each blue whale consumes about four tons of krills each day!
Underwater, these whales look completely blue. However, when they’re on the surface, their skin gives off a slight blue-grey color.
Blue whales come with an extraordinary sense of hearing. It’s considered that in a natural condition, they can hear their peers sound from a thousand miles away! They are also the loudest animals in the world. They emit vocalizations occasionally. They speak not only to communicate, but they use it as a sonar as well.
If visiting Antarctica is on your to-do list, you better keep a lookout for these animals. Various other animals are living there as well, but we consider these to be the most interesting.
Antarctica was once losing its species due to extreme hunting. However, the situation has improved since then. It’s up to us now to make sure it stays that way!