Let’s take a look to the Arctic, where the North Pole is located in the middle of the ocean and also the place for unique species of animals!
The Low Arctic Zone is warmer and supports animal or plant life. But in The High Arctic Zone can be extremely cold with the temperature reach to -34 degrees Celcius or even fall below that at the beginning of the year. It also has long periods of darkness in winter but long periods of light in summer.
Most of the soil is frozen for most of the year and some areas of the arctic are even as dry as Sahara desert. These extreme conditions can be challenging for animals to live since they have to adapt in order to survive.
The animals that are able to live in such conditions are a polar bear, arctic fox, walrus, seal, narwhal, snowy owl, the reindeer, arctic wolves, ox, moose, and orca. Have you ever heard about one of them? Here are some facts about animals who live in the Arctic that may interest you!
10 unique facts about Arctic animals
1. Why white?
We use to associate arctic animals with having white fur. But, why white? This color provides them to be able to camouflage in the snow and ice.
2. Not that white…
Polar bear has white fur which is helpful to let it adapt and camouflage. But here’s the fun fact: the coat of polar bear’s coat is actually has no white pigment. It has black skin with hollowed hairs.
3. The largest meat-eater
Since we talk about polar bear, do you know that it can weigh more than 1300 pounds and span more than eight feet, which making them known as the largest carnivores that live on the Earth until now.
Even though polar bear is big, they are good and skilfull swimmers. They can swim up to 15 feet depth and hold their breath for more than 2 minutes! Polar bear like to hunt and even mate out mostly on ice rather than land. What’s making them so good at swimming? Well, their nostril is closed why they swim to prevent them from breathing underwater. It makes them the only bears that can be counted as marine mammals.
4. No time to sleep for polar bears
Unlike the other types of bears who hibernate during winter, polar bears keep themselves active for the whole season. They don’t need to sleep or shut down their metabolism because their food source is always available for them even in the coldest month! They will only lay low during bad weather by digging themselves into snow pit like wearing a warm blanket, or burry their bodies with tundra during some to keep from overheating.
But in female polar bears, the case may be different. When they are pregnant, they will dig herself a den, sealed herself in it, and fast. In fact, they fast longer than any other mammal which is about almost eight months, until her cubs grow big enough.
5. Adaptive coat
Since the condition in the Arctic can be extremely cold, the coat and fur of the animals need to adapt to keep themselves warm. For examples, whales and walruses have a thick layer of blubber beneath the skin and Arctic wolves have thick doubled-layer of fur coats to keep them from freezing. Some also have thicker coats that only last during the colder months.
6. Changing Color
Arctic foxes can have a different color or coats. They have white in winter but can turn into darker colors in the warmer months, like brown, bluish-gray, or paler bluish-gray. They all so have their fur that covered up their bottom of their feet to keep their feet warm, just like they are wearing socks like us!
7. Not only the fur that has the jobs
Arctic wolves may have doubled-layer coats, but it is not the only one that keeps them warm! The small and bulk size of their body is also designed to help prevent loss of heat. So do the short leg, rounded muzzle, and rounded ears to help them stay warm. Those features are shorter or smaller compare to the other gray wolf subspecies.
8. Strong forehead
There can be a lot of icebergs and layer of ice on the top of the water. This condition force beluga whales to adapt themselves with having strong foreheads. They use their foreheads as a hammer to ram into or break the ice from the water in order to let them get into the surface for air.
9. Different age, different color
The arctic fox has the ability to change their color of fur depending on the season, beluga whales can also change their color depending on the age. Young beluga whales, or also known as Calves, are not born white. Most of them have color in the range of brown, gray, or blue. After around 6 years of age, they finally lose all the colors and become white just like her papa and mama.
10. The food chain
Now let’s look up into the food chain in the Arctic. Who has the top rank of the food chain there? The answer is polar bear. Polar bear is the top predators in the Arctic, consuming seals and other fishes. The primary consumers are the caribou with other grazing animals, while the arctic foxes prey on caribou and rabbit as secondary consumers. In the producers level, there are linches, moss, and small shrubs.
Talking about food chain and polar bear, do you know that polar bear actually has a higher rank on the food chain than human? Yes, polar bear might look like a prey!
That is all the 10 unique fact about animals who live in Arctic. You may notice that their appearance, body parts, and even their habits are designed to help them to survive from the colds. These facts show how diverse the species of animals are.