In the northernmost part of our planet is a place that is virtually inhabitable to us. While some people have managed to get a foothold there, it is largely a hostile world that we know as the Arctic. Freezing temperatures and extreme weather conditions make it difficult just to survive. Some animals, however, have adapted to be right at home in these conditions with thick, woolly coats and layers of fat to help keep them warm. They have also evolved other adaptations that help them to stay safe from predators and to find food.
Some of these are well known to us already and are among peoples’ favorite animals. Others are less known but are still fascinating creatures in their own right, with some having found their way into fiction and folklore of both older civilisations and modern people. Because of the harsh conditions that many of these animals live in, it has only been relatively recently that researchers have been able to study them closely.
Although it may seem like a hostile world to us, life here has still flourished and become as diverse as it is anywhere else. This means that there is a huge range of animals living here, and here is a look at some of the most popular.
Arctic Animal #10: Polar Bear
The polar bear is one of the largest of all bear species on the planet and the largest land carnivore, with males weighing more than 1,500 lbs. The only other bear to match it in size is the Kodiak bear. Polar bears are closely related to brown bears but, unlike their brown cousins, they are considered to be aquatic mammals due to the amount of time they spend in the water. They are perfectly adapted to their environment and can handle the harsh conditions of the Arctic with ease.
Polar bears are powerful predators and are able to feed upon pretty much anything that comes their way. Seals are a particularly common meal for them and they have a cunning way of catching them. Seal holes are fairly common throughout the Arctic and are made so that the seals can get some air when swimming below the surface. The polar bear will wait close to these holes and when a seal surfaces to breathe, the bear will grab it and drag it out of the hole.