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Animals Of Antarctica

Animals Of Antarctica

21st May 2015
(c) A-Z-Animals.com

Antarctica is the most southerly continent on Earth and its freezing conditions mean that animals that are found on every other continent on the planet, are no-where to be seen. The extensive cover of ice, no sunshine during winter and the fact that it holds the record for being the coldest place on Earth makes it pretty inhospitable to life.

Unlike the other continents, Antarctica has no permanent large land-dwelling animals and even the plants are that are found growing there are incredibly small, staying very close to the ground to avoid unnecessary exposure to the freezing conditions. The seas surrounding the continent however, are a completely different story and are seemingly abundant with a variety of different species in comparison to life on the land.

The most commonly known inhabitants of Antarctica are birds, the iconic Antarctic species being penguins that spend vast amounts of time in the warmer seas only venturing onto the land in the marginally warmer summer months when they lay their eggs and raise their chicks in preparation for returning to the water. Six species are penguin are known to exist in Antarctica which are the Adelie Penguin, Chinstrap Penguin, Gentoo Penguin, King Penguin, Macaroni Penguin and of course, the Emperor Penguin.

Penguins in Antarctica feed exclusively in the sea and are able to travel vast distances in search of food, often spending extended periods of time hunting in the water. Krill is one of the most important sources of nutrition for all penguin species and along with squid, makes up the bulk of their diet. Depending on the time of year and how far penguins choose to travel in search of food, a variety of different fish species are also consumed.

The seas surrounding the Antarctic continent are also frequently visited by a number of marine mammals including five species of seal (Antarctic Fur Seal, Crabeater Seal, Southern Elephant Seal, Weddell Seal and Leopard Seals), along with Antarctic Minke Whales and Orcas. Although it may not seem like there are many species living in Antarctica, together they all make up a strong and thriving eco-system at the bottom of the globe.