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Top 8 Tundra Animals

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tundra animals

Life in the tundra is extraordinary because it has evolved to survive in the freezing conditions of the winter biome. Tundra animals are specially adapted to their harsh environment. Take a look at the top 8 tundra animals.

A lot of different kinds of life can be found in the tundra biome, even though there aren’t nearly as many species of animals there as there are in warmer biomes. The animals that are able to survive in the harsh tundra environment will be discussed in this article.

You may also want to read about the top 8 apex predators.

1-Polar Bear

The Polar Bear is an iconic species of the tundra. They are native to the tundra of the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Greenland.

Polar bears have evolved a wide variety of strategies for surviving the cold and blending in with their snowy habitats. The black skin beneath the white, hollow fur is protected from the sun.

They have an under-skin layer of fat that keeps them warm. Wide, flat paws help them navigate the snow, while webbing between their toes makes them excellent swimmers.

Polar bears search for seal pups in their dens and prey on adult seals that are near the water’s surface. Polar bears are unique among bear species in that they do not hibernate and only use dens during birth to keep their cubs warm.

polar bear
The Polar Beard is the biggest predator of the tundra animals.

2-Arctic Wolf

Magnificent Arctic Wolves are native to the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland. Arctic wolves age from an all-white coat to a smokey-gray and white coat.

It’s true that Arctic wolves are smaller than gray wolves on average, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get up to 175 pounds in weight (79.4 kilograms). These creatures are usually solitary, though pack life is not unheard of for them.

Due to permafrost, Arctic wolves are unable to dig dens, so they instead give birth in caves, rock outcroppings, or depressions in the ground. A litter may consist of two or three puppies and be born between May and June.

The Arctic wolf’s prey includes mammals of varying sizes. Polar hares, seals, lemmings, caribou, and even moose make up a significant portion of their diet.

tundra animals

3-Leopard Seal

Leopard seals are inuit animals native to the Antarctic tundra. These seals can be found on subantarctic islands and in the pack ice formed when the ocean freezes. Their fat layer, known as blubber, protects them from the freezing Antarctic waters.

Leopard seals are able to thrive on a diet of fish, penguins, squid, and crustaceans thanks to their long, sharp teeth and slim build. To catch their prey, they dive into the water. One could consider them to be one of Antarctica’s top predators.

Pregnancy in a female leopard seal lasts for 9 months, and birth typically occurs in November. Their only known predator is the killer whale, so there is little reason to worry about their conservation status.

leopard seal
The Leopard Seal is the biggest predator in the water of the tundra animals.

4-Snow Leopard

The Himalayas, the Siberian Mountains, and the Tibetan Plateau are all home to snow leopards because of their high elevation. Long, bushy tails serve as a form of insulation, and their tan to cream colored fur is beautifully spotted with black.

They eat primarily small mammals like sheep, pikas, hares, and birds, but also occasionally prey on larger prey like moose and deer. Increasing temperatures from climate change are making competition for food sources more intense, particularly among predators that share a common prey.

Because of mining, tourism, urbanization, poaching, and climate change, the snow leopard is now considered a vulnerable species.

snow leopard
The Snow Leopard belongs to the tundra animals.

5-Canada Lynx

Arctic tundra is home to the Canada Lynx, a critically endangered cat species. You can see them in the far north of the United States and Canada.

Fur under their paws keeps them from freezing in the snow, and fur around their ears keeps them toasty even in subzero temperatures.

Lynxes in Canada are able to see clearly at night and hunt effectively in the dark. Although the Snowshoe Hare makes up the bulk of their diet, they will switch to other small mammals and grouse if supplies run low.

The IUCN Red List currently assigns them a least concern conservation status, but human activities such as urbanization, hunting/trapping, and logging pose serious threats to their population.

canada lynx

6-Walrus

There are two species of walrus: the Pacific Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) and the Atlantic Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). You can find both varieties of this species all over the Arctic and sub-Arctic tundra in the northern hemisphere. They chill on the sea ice and rarely venture far from the coast.

Long tusks are used for a variety of purposes, including climbing onto sea ice and creating air vents for survival. When diving into the icy waters, walruses can stay warm thanks to their thick layer of blubber.

They are in a precarious position regarding their conservation. The melting sea ice they rely on for survival is a direct result of human-caused climate change.

walrus
The Walrus is the biggest of the tundra animals.

7-Arctic Fox

The Arctic Fox, the most elusive of the tundra’s mammalian residents, comes in at number 10. From Alaska and Canada to the coasts of Greenland and Russia, these people can be found making their homes in the Arctic tundra.

Grasslands in the Arctic tundra are home to Arctic foxes, who eat rodents, fish, birds, and even plants when their other food sources are exhausted. Additionally, they are scavengers that will consume the scraps left behind by other predators.

To help them blend in with the icy landscape, they wear a white fur coat with gray undertones. They go through a molting process and shed their thick winter coat for the summer. Arctic fox cubs are born with dark brown fur that gradually lightens as they mature.

arctic fox
The Arctic Fox is one of the tundra animals that can change color.

8-Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl is next on the list, and it can be found in the Arctic. Snowy owls begin life looking dark grayish-brown and develop a spotted gray or brown and white appearance as they mature into their adult form.

As of the year 2021, snowy owls have gone from being the species least in need of protection to being one of the most at risk due to a decline in their population caused by human activity.

In common with other owls, these birds have excellent vision and patiently wait for an opportunity to pounce on their prey. The Lemming is a favorite treat for snowy owls, but they also eat rabbits, fish, and other birds and rodents.

Despite being able to survive in the harsh tundra climate all year round, snowy owls occasionally venture to more temperate habitats such as wetlands and agricultural fields.

snowy owl