Five animals you’ll only find in Antarctica
These majestic (and seriously hardy) creatures live and thrive in the coldest and most isolated continent on Earth
There are many must-visit places around the world for animal-lovers, but one that simply has
to be on your bucket list is Antarctica. And unless you’re a budding polar explorer, the best way to see the region’s wildlife is on an Antarctica cruise, where you can soak up incredible views from out on deck and be guided by a knowledgeable expert as to which creatures to look out for. So, what creatures can you expect to see? Below are five incredible species that you’ll only find on this fascinating continent…
Admire a waddle of Adélie penguins © Hubert Neufeld/Unsplash
Adélies may be some of the smaller penguins you’ll find in the Antarctic, but that doesn’t mean they’re not built to handle the harsh environment, proven by the fact they spend their whole lives on and around the ice. They’re also excellent swimmers and can dive a mind-boggling 170m deep into the sea. And like any penguin you care to name, they’re also ridiculously cute.
One of the biggest predators in Antarctica: the leopard seal © Michael Nolan/Robert Harding
Seals are generally very loveable creatures, but don’t let this species fool you with its lolloping demeanour. The second-largest seal species in Antarctica and with fang-like teeth, leopard seals are one of the biggest predators on the continent. But it’s not all biting and fighting, as they also enjoy a good song – leopard seals are known for being vocal and singing underwater, especially males, who sometimes sing constantly for days on end, perhaps to attract a mate.
Spy snow petrels in the icy skies © Michael Nolan/Robert Harding
With their striking snow-white colouring, these gorgeous birds are fittingly named – apart from when they’re baby chicks, when they’re grey, seriously fluffy and seriously sweet, too. Petrels can be found dotted around Antarctica and the surrounding islands, and are one of only three bird species that breed in the region.
The south polar skua can be spotted in Antarctica during summer © Michael Nolan/Robert Harding
South polar skua
These hefty, resilient birds can be spotted at the South Pole, which goes some way in explaining their name. Skuas aren’t averse to balmier climates, however, as during winter months they migrate from Antarctica to the warmer temperatures of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, even being occasionally spotted off the coasts of Japan and Greenland. Generally, though, you won’t see them outside of their natural habitat, where you’ll find them gobbling down fish and even the eggs or chicks of the Adélie penguin.
The biggest of the bunch: majestic emperor penguins © Pexels
Thanks to the 2005 film March Of The Penguins, the world now knows a little more about the lives of these marvellous creatures, who have become one of the most well-known examples of Antarctica wildlife. Emperors are the largest penguin species, measuring about 115cm tall, and they live and breed in the harshest of environments – in winter, Antarctic temperatures can drop to below -30°C. Apart from the odd maverick that somehow ends up on the coast of New Zealand every 50 years or so, the only place you’ll see these brilliant birds is Antarctica.