Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world, but most human beings steer clear of the below freezing temperatures! However, there are many animals that love living in this chilly place. Learn about the different species that can be found at the South Pole!
Life in Antarctica
It takes a special type of animal to be able to make it in Antarctica. Antarctica is the fifth largest continent, but has the smallest human population because of its freezing conditions. Living at the South Pole is not for the weak! While most human beings are not flocking to live on the ice covered continent, more than 250 species call Antarctica their home. These species are known as extremophiles because of their ability to adapt to the extremely cold temperatures and living conditions in Antarctica. Some of these extremophiles live on the snowy, icy land and others swim in the freezing waters.
One of the most common extremophiles living on the land in Antarctica is the penguin. Penguins are birds that cannot fly.
There are 17 different species of penguins in Antarctica, one of them being the Emperor penguin. One of the most unique features of the Emperor penguin is that it is actually the father penguin who keeps the egg warm after the mother walks off and leaves (bye mom!). It takes about 65 days for the egg to hatch – talk about Father of the Year! Don’t worry – the mom will eventually come back after swimming around the ocean for a couple of months gathering fish to feed to the baby penguin. King penguins are another common penguin that can be found in Antarctica.
They stay warm with their four layers of feathers. One of the best parts about being a penguin in Antarctica is that they have no predators, or animals that will eat them, on land. However, they need to be aware and alert of the predators that are after them in the water!
Whales and Seals
Whales are enormous mammals that roam the Antarctic Ocean. Some of them weigh over 100 tons – this is bigger than many dinosaurs! Blue whales, humpback whales and sperm whales are just a few of the species of whales that can be found around Antarctica, but one of the most fascinating species is the Killer Whale. Killer whales are best recognized by their black and white spots.
They are feared by many and they hunt in groups, or pods, for their prey. An afternoon snack for these whales could be a squid, a seal, and a fish with a side of penguin! Seals are another type of animal that is common in the Antarctic Ocean. There are many different species of seals, but one of the most common is the leopard seal. Leopard seals might look cute, but they are seriously dangerous predators and can weigh twice as much as a bear! They are very fast and are not good news for penguins at all.
There are many, many other animals that live in Antarctica, but one of the most common is the krill.
Krill are tiny, see-through shrimp-like creatures that are eaten by most of their animal neighbors. Despite many animals after them all the time, many krill can live up to seven years! Krill don’t travel alone, in fact, many of them travel in swarms that can have up to 2 million tons of krill! Talk about squad goals!
The animals living in Antarctica are fascinating, each in their own way. Some of the most common animals living in this freezing place include penguins, krill and ocean predators, such as whales and seals. Enjoy the negative temperatures, extremophiles!