Wildlife in Antarctica

Wildlife in Antarctica

Antarctic Wildlife Unique

The wildlife in Antarctica is unique. It has adapted to a very hostile climate but like all wildlife it has found its niche on the planet.

Antarctic wildlife consists mainly of a series of groups of species. These species consist of Birds, Penguins, Seals, and Whales. The two most prominent species on the Antarctic continent and the Sub Antarctic Islands are Seals and Birds which includes Penguins.

Penguins Galore

Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless birds. They are by far the most popular wildlife of Antarctica and along with seals make up the bulk of the wildlife in Antarctica. There are quite a few species of penguins in Antarctica, they are highly adapted to life in the water and spend about half their time on land and half in the water. They feed mainly on krill, fish and squid. They return to the same breeding grounds year after year and each species is as diverse in their breeding rituals as they are in habitat.

Seals in Antarctica

Seals are Pinnipeds (from Latin pinna, wing or fin, and ped-, foot) or fin-footed mammals. They are a widely distributed and diverse group of semi-aquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae (the walrus), Otariidae (eared seals, including sea lions and fur seals), and Phocidae (earless seals). Both the eared seals and earless seals are found in Antarctica.

Antarctic Bird Life

Birds not including Penguins also make up a large percentage of the wildlife population in Antarctica. Predominately sea birds make up a large percentage of that. The Sub Antarctic islands have large populations of a variety of sea birds. The bird-life relies mainly on food from the sea however many birds are also scavengers relying on food from sources such as penguin eggs, sick and dying seals, penguins and other wildlife such as rabbits, mice and rats which are found on some Sub Antarctic islands as an introduced species and are considered vermin.

Whales in Antarctica

Whales are found in Antarctic waters but are not limited to Antarctica. Whales are sea mammals and are the largest mammal species on earth. The Blue Whale is the largest of the whale species measuring at up to 30 metres in length and weighing up to180 metric tons. Killer Whales or Orcas (Orcinus orca) is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family and are quite prominent in Antarctic waters, they can be seen off the coast on the continent and Sub Antarctic islands as they feed on seals and penguins as well as fish.

Antarctic Wildlife Images

Below are some selected images of Antarctic wildlife, these do not include all Antarctica wildlife but do represent a collection of some of the most popular wildlife which can be seen and photographed in Antarctica and Sub Antarctica.

If you are planning a trip to Antarctica whether to work or just to visit as a tourist you can expect to come across and have the opportunity to experience this amazing and unique wildlife in Antarctica.

Adelie Penguins in Antarctica

Adelie Penguins taking a stroll on the ice

Antarctic Fur Seals in Sub Antarctica

Antarctic Fur Seals in Sub Antarctica

Antarctic Snow Petrel

Snow Petrels in Antarctica

Chinstrap Penguin and Elephant Seals

A Chinstrap Penguin and Elephant Seals

Crabeater Seal on ice floe

Crabeater Seal on ice floe

Juvenile Weddel Seal weiner

Juvenile Weddel Seal in Antarctica

King Penguins Sub Antarctica

King Penguins on Sub Antarctic beach

South Polar Skua in Antarctica

South Polar Skua flying high

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