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Survival Against All Odds: Animals of the Arctic

Survival Against All Odds: Animals of the Arctic
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Written by the BBCEarth Team

Adaptation is fundamental for a species to survive, especially in a hostile environment like the Arctic, where inhabitants are faced with six months of perpetual darkness and snow and ice laying claim to every inch of the land. What kind of extraordinary animals survive in such harsh terrain, and more importantly, how do they do it?

During winter in the Arctic, temperatures can drop to a bone-chilling −50°C (−58 °F). Rather than going into hibernation however, some animals will stick out the winter and use their cold-conquering adaptations to survive. One such animal that has done this is the arctic fox or the snow fox as it is also commonly known.

Ranging far and wide in the arctic and alpine tundra, these jackals of the north, so-called because of their propensity to scavenge on polar bears’ kills, have a woolly coat that has the best insulating properties of any mammal. Other adaptations for life in the arctic include small, heavily furred ears and a short nose. Having a smaller surface area reduces heat loss. They also have fur on the soles of their feet as well as increased blood circulation to the feet which literally stops their paws freezing to the ice!

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Photo from Brandon Christopher Warren via flickr

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9:39PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

What a beautiful animal.

10:43AM PST on Dec 11, 2011


6:03PM PST on Dec 10, 2011


7:35AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

2:08AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

The Arctic can be such a cruel place during the coldest times. Emperor penguins who inhabit that part of the world are absolutely amazing in their survival. It's heart rending seeing what they go through.

5:31AM PST on Nov 22, 2011


7:17PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Wow cool. Thanks for sharing :)

2:17PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Thanks for this artricle, while we are on the subject I highly recommend "An Arctic Tale" narrated by Queen Latifah, It is a four star film with a very powerful message.

2:03PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

We (humans) think we are so clever, that we don’t realize that by destroying the delicate balance of nature-in the name of progress, we are in fact “destroying” ourselves.

6:43AM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Thank you for sharing.

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