The tundra is one of the harshest biome and is definitely the coldest place. The temperature in the tundra is as low as minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit. There is permafrost beneath the tundra.
Permafrost is the frozen sublayer of soil. One of tundra locations is in the Arctic. Get to know these mammals from the Arctic Ocean with their amazing characteristics.
Despite the fact that Alaskan tundra is the coldest place, there are still some species of animals inhabiting this place. Don’t you feel curious of the amazing inhabiting Alaskan tundra? Here they are.
- Musk Oxen
The first animal found in Alaskan tundra is musk ox. There are some distinctive features between female and male musk oxen. Female oxen have pale patch of hair between the horns. Meanwhile, the males have the horns joined together.
Musk oxen are herbivores as they eat whatever plant materials they find. In the summer months, they prefer to consume soft nutritious grasses and other wild plants. In the winter months, they turn to roots, dwarf willows, lichens, mosses and other vegetation beneath the snow.
Their predators are mainly Arctic wolves along with grizzly bears and polar bears. Musk oxen survive well in the Alaskan tundra as they have thick layer of body fat. This thick layer of body fat is useful especially when food supply is intermittent.
Caribou or also known as reindeer, are located in northern countries, such as Canada, Russia, Greenland, Finland and in the state of Alaska. They are called reindeer in European countries, while in North America they are known as caribou.
Have you ever wondered why reindeer is identical with Christmas? Find the answer in fun facts of reindeer as Christmas animal.
The food they eat depends on the season. In the summer time, they feed on a variety of plants, including willow leaves. Meanwhile in the winter time, they will eat their hooves to dig through snow to get the moss or lichens.
Caribou like to migrate and are known for mass migrations across the tundra in order to find food. They have thick fur and skin that enable them to enter frigid rivers while they’re migrating. Their hooves are wide to assist supporting it on surfaces such as mud and snow. They also enable caribou to dig and swim.
- Snowy Owl
This species of owl live mainly in the tundra. Snowy owls perch on the ground or on short posts. They patiently wait for prey from these spots. Their prey are mainly lemmings – small rodents, however, they also hunt for other small rodents, rabbits, and fish.
Snowy owls have an excellent eyesight, however, they can’t see their prey when it is underneath snow or thick layer of plants. Instead, they rely mostly on other keen sense, which is hearing.
Snowy owls mostly sleep during the day and hunt at night. In the summer time, they are active during the day. They tend to be most active during dawn and dusk.
Besides snowy owl, get to know the other popular breeds of owl. It’s amazing to know these breeds.
- Arctic Hare
Arctic hares are found in tundra. They make shelters in the snow so that they could survive the extreme cold temperatures. Regarding to their diet, they mainly feed on buds, berries, twigs, mosses, woody plants and other types of vegetations find there.
Arctic hares have all white coat in the winter, while in the summer, the coat may change to a blue-gray or gray-brown coat. Their large hind feet enable them to move quickly across the snow. They also have claws which help them dig through the snow to look for mosses or vegetation to eat.
Besides arctic hare, make sure you also know these mammals of Antarctica. These animals are really strong as they survive the cold weather really well.
- Semipalmated Plover
Semipalmated plover is a species of bird. It is seven inches long and has brown back and white undersides. Its species breeds from Alaska to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
It mainly inhabits on sandy and mossy tundra. During the migration and in the winter, you can find this bird on mudflats, salt marshes and lakeshores.
Regarding to its diet, it eats insects, such as grasshoppers, mosquitos, and locusts. It also eats crustaceans and mollusks.
Those animals have their own adaptations that enable them to survive the long cold weathers. During the summer time, they tend to migrate south during winter. There are some other animals that migrate during winter. They do this to survive!
Not only those animals mentioned above, there are some other animals inhabiting Alaskan tundra, such as lemmings, arctic wolves, polar bears, and even bacteria and fungi. Bacteria and fungi are beneficial for breaking down the dead matters and returning the nutrients to the soil to be re-used.