List of Animals of the Arctic
A list of animals of the arctic would be incomplete without the lemming, the small rodent which grows to be between five and eight inches long, and weighs approximately 23 grams.
It feeds on grasses and mosses as well as berries, leaves and shoots. Unlike other animals, lemmings do not hibernate during winter. They instead burrow in snow to find food, creating tunnel systems that contain numerous areas.
The walrus is a big marine mammal with flippers that lives in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. Its range is patchy around the North Pole. There is only one living member of the family Odobenidae and the genus Odobenus. That member is the walrus.
The Beluga whale is one of the largest mammals in the world. They live in groups of two to 25 individuals. They often travel together. Pods do not have a set structure, and some belugas form groups of related individuals.
Males and females form separate pods, and belugas frequently leave one group and enter another. Males tend to travel in pods while females travel with their offspring.
The Beluga whale has a distinctive white skin tone and a bulbous head. Their facial features are distinct, and they wear a perpetual smile.
These whales are playful and social, and they will approach ships when they see them. They are found around glaciers and in shallow bays. They are also found on Somerset Island and Cunningham Inlet.
While beluga whales can live for 35 to 50 years, they tend to be most active between the hours of three and four in the morning.
The Arctic skua is the only bird in its family that can parasitize other birds. The parasitic jaeger is also known as the Arctic skua. The name “jaeger” is derived from the German word “jäger,” which means hunter. The species of jaeger is found only in the Arctic.
In addition to hunting birds, the Arctic skua is a valuable resource for the fishing community.
The Arctic skua breeds in Finland and flies south in July and September. It usually returns to the breeding area in early April and May. Other arctic species will pass through Finland later in the spring.
During the winter, the Arctic skua migrates to tropical areas, such as Asia and the Americas.
The Arctic skua feeds primarily on fish, insects, seabird eggs, and small migrating birds.
The Semipalmated Sandpiper is one of the animals of the polar regions. Males congregate in large groups called ‘leks’ to fight for the attention of females. Males’ wings are silver on the underside, so they can be seen from a great distance. This animal has to migrate thousands of miles to the Arctic to breed and lay their eggs. It must also contend with storms and predators along the way.
This small bird migrates to the arctic tundra to breed. It can be seen on the arctic islands of Canada, Iceland, and northern Europe. The males display over their breeding grounds by performing a flight called a courtship display.
Males deliver repeated trills and bursts of rapid wingbeats. Once mating is complete, the males stop performing displays and settle down to nesting in the shallow depressions.
The ribbon seal is a small sea mammal that inhabits the southern edge of the Arctic pack ice. Its diet varies according to the season and location, but it generally consists of pelagic fish and invertebrates. Because of global warming, ribbon seal habitat is rapidly disappearing, putting the animal’s survival at risk.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a scientific petition to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect this unique species from extinction.
The ribbon seal is born white, but eventually will moult into a silver or grey color. At birth, they are a pure white color, so it’s very hard to recognize them from other seals.
When they reach sexual maturity, they’ll have a black coat wrapped in white circles. Adult ribbon seals can live up to 25 years, making them one of the most fascinating animals in the world.
The Arctic fox
The Arctic fox, also known as the white fox, polar fox, and snow fox, is a small fox endemic to the Arctic areas of the Northern Hemisphere and widespread in the Arctic tundra biome. It is highly adapted to life in frigid areas, and its thick, insulating fur serves as camouflage.
The Arctic hare is a type of hare that is particularly adapted to live in frigid environments. The Arctic hare survives with shorter ears and limbs, a small nose, about 20% body fat, and a dense fur coat.
The Arctic wolf
The Arctic wolf, sometimes known as the white wolf or polar wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf native to the High Arctic tundra of the Queen Elizabeth Islands of Canada, from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island.
Caribou / Reindeer
Moose – Alces alces
The moose or elk is a member of the New World deer subfamily and the largest and heaviest living species of deer. The antlers of most adult male moose are distinctively broad and palmate, whereas the antlers of most other members of the deer family are dendritic.
Musk Ox – Ovibos moschatus
The muskox, also spelled musk ox and musk-ox, and its plural muskoxen or musk oxen, is a hoofed mammal belonging to the Bovidae family. Its name originates from the pungent odor males generate during the seasonal rut, which contributes to its thick coat.
Polar Bear – Ursus maritimus
The polar bear is a hypercarnivorous bear whose natural habitat extends primarily within the Arctic Circle, including the Arctic Ocean, its adjacent seas, and the surrounding land. It is the largest bear species and the largest terrestrial carnivore that exists today.
Wolverine – Gulo gulo
Wolverine, also known as glutton, carcajou, and skunk bear, is a member of the weasel family that inhabits the freezing northern latitudes of North America and Eurasia, particularly in forested regions.
It resembles a tiny, squat, broad bear and measures 65–104 cm (26–41 inches) in length, omitting its bushy 13–26-cm (5–10-inch) tail; its shoulder height is 36–45 cm (14–18 inches); and its weight is 9–30 kg (20–66 pounds).
The legs are short and somewhat bowed, the soles are hairy, the claws are long and sharp, the ears are small, and the teeth are robust. A light brown stripe extends from each side of the neck down the body to the base of the tail on the coarse, long-haired coat. The anal glands of the animal emit a foul-smelling fluid.
Dall Sheep – Ovis dalli
The Dall sheep, Dall’s sheep, or thinhorn sheep is a species of wild sheep indigenous to the northwestern region of North America. There are two subspecies of this species: Ovis dalli dalli and Ovis dalli stonei. Dall sheep inhabit arid alpine regions and feed on grasses and rushes.
Ermine – Mustela erminea
The stoat or short-tailed weasel, often referred to as the Eurasian ermine, Beringian ermine, or simply ermine, is a mustelid native to Eurasia and the northern regions of North America. It is categorized as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to its extensive circumpolar distribution.
Lemming – Lemmus lemmus
The Norway lemming, sometimes known as the Norwegian lemming, is a common species of lemming found in northern Fennoscandia, where it is the only native vertebrate species. The Norway lemming inhabits tundra and fells, preferring to reside near water. Adults consume largely grasses, sedges, and moss.
Sea Otter – Enhydra lutris
The sea otter is a marine mammal indigenous to the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean coastlines. Adult sea otters weigh between 14 and 45 kilograms on average, making them the biggest members of the weasel family yet one of the smallest marine mammals.
Snowshoe Hare / Snowshoe Rabbit
The snowshoe hare, sometimes known as the varied hare or snowshoe rabbit, is a North American hare species. It is called a “snowshoe” because its hind feet are so huge. When the animal leaps and walks, its feet keep it from sinking into the snow.
Snowy Owl – Bubo scandiacus
The Arctic tern is a member of the Laridae family of terns. This bird’s breeding range encompasses the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.
Arctic Skua – Stercorarius parasiticus
The parasitic jaeger is a member of the skua family Stercorariidae. It is also known as the Arctic skua, Arctic jaeger, and parasitic skua. “jaeger” is derived from the German word “Jäger,” which means “hunter.”
The bald eagle is a North American bird of prey. It forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle, which fills the same niche as the bald eagle in the Palearctic, and has two known subspecies.
Canada Goose – Branta canadensis
The Canada goose, also known as the Canadian goose, is a huge wild bird with a brown body, a black head and neck, white cheeks, and white beneath its chin. It is endemic to the arctic and temperate parts of North America, and it migrates across the Atlantic Ocean to northern Europe on occasion.
The thick-billed murre or Brünnich’s guillemot belongs to the auk family of birds. The name of this bird honors the Danish biologist Morten Thrane Brünnich. The Uria lomvia arra subspecies of the North Pacific is sometimes known as the Pallas’ murre, in honor of its discoverer.
Ptarmigan – Lagopus muta
Ptarmigans are birds that belong to the grouse subfamily and are members of the small genus of birds known as Lagopus. The genus has three living species, each of which lives in tundra or frigid highland environments, and multiple subspecies that have been described.
Puffin – Fratercula arctica
The Atlantic puffin is a species of seabird that belongs to the auk family. It is sometimes known as the common puffin. It is the only puffin that can be found in its natural habitat in the Atlantic Ocean. Two related species, the tufted puffin and the horned puffin, can be found in the northeastern Pacific Ocean.
North America is home to its own unique species of goose, known as the snow goose. There is a dark morph, which is commonly referred to as the blue goose, as well as a white morph. Its name comes from the fact that its plumage is almost always white.
The species was formerly classified as belonging to the genus Chen, but it is now more commonly considered to be a member of the “gray goose” genus Anser.
The Greenland shark is a huge member of the family Somniosidae and is closely related to both the Pacific sleeper shark and the southern sleeper shark. Other names for this shark include the gurry shark, grey shark, and by its Kalaallisut name, eqalussuaq.
Orca – Orcinus orca
Bearded Seal – Erignathus barbatus
Hooded Seal – Cystophora cristata
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