Take a walk on the wild side in these animal’s winter wonderlands. From the Arctic to the Antarctic and the cold places in between, we’re celebrating the holiday season with 12 of our favorite wintry weather creatures!
1. Polar Bear
Polar bears actually have black skin underneath their furry white coats. This skin helps them absorb heat while the white fur blends them into their environment. They are also considered strong swimmers and have been seen in the open Arctic waters, as far as 200 miles away from land.
2. Emperor Penguin
Penguins are flightless birds that use their flippers to swim in the water. The notable Emperor Penguin can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes straight. These cuddly creatures are also known for huddling together to keep warm in the chilling Antarctic weather.
3. Arctic Fox
The Arctic fox can survive the coldest of the cold , in temperatures as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit. They primarily eat rodents and birds, however during the winter when ground prey gets scarce, they tend to follow after polar bears to feed off their leftovers. They are one opportunistic eater!
4. Snowy Owl
The Snowy Owl is one of the largest species of owl in the world. This owl is able to swallow its food whole and then regurgitate the bones in smaller pellets around 24 hours after feeding.
5. Harp Seal
Harp seals spend most of their time diving and swimming in the Arctic’s icy waters looking for food. While hunting for fish, they can dive to around 1,000 feet.
6. Snow Hare
Snowshoe hares have large, furry feet that help them move about the cold ground. Their white coats turn brown as the spring snow melts.
Ermines are quick and quiet little creatures that can easily go unnoticed while hunting in the Arctic. They are nocturnal and mostly active at night.
Meet Rudolph’s relatives! Also known as wild reindeer, caribou are the only deer that have both males and females with antlers. They have big hooves to help support itself through the icy snow.
9. Sea Otter
Sea Otters have the densest fur in all the animal kingdom to help insulate them. They are also one of the few mammals to use tools like small rocks to hit shellfish off surfaces and pound them open.
10. Arctic Wolf
In the Arctic Circle, the Arctic wolf is faced with 5 months of complete darkness. They have two layers of thick fur and the outer one gets thicker as winter prolongs. They also have padded paws to help them roam around the icy ground.
11. Beluga Whale
Beluga whales have an unusual white color that makes them so distinctive. They usually live together in groups known as pods and are considerably social creatures. They communicate with one another with a language made up of whistles, clinks, and clangs.
Walruses are social animals and hang out in large numbers. However, during the non-breeding season, males and females separate into their own herds. Their iconic tusks, which continue to grow their whole lives, are used to help haul their bodies out of cold waters. Males also use their tusks to aggressively maintain territory.
Catch icy animals, big and small, all day Thursday on Nat Geo Wild.