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25 Animals that Live in Antarctica (A to Z List & Pictures)

antarctica

Examples of animals that live in Antarctica include the blue whale, fin whale, gentoo penguin, kelp gull, and krill.

Antarctica is a continent located in the Southern Hemisphere and contains the coldest environment on earth.

The climate of Antarctica can vary depending on where you are and the time of the season.

Time of YearNorth PoleSouth Pole
Summer32° F (0° C)−18° F (−28.2° C)
Winter−40° F (−40° C)−76° F (−60° C)
Average (mean) temperature

It has been estimated that the average temperature in Antarctica is around -58 degrees Fahrenheit.

While this may be an inhospitable environment for most animals, there are still some species that live here.

Examples of Animals that Live in Antarctica

1. Adelie Penguin

Scientific NamePygoscelis adeliae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

One of the most well-known Antarctic animals is the Adelie penguin. These flightless birds are found in Antarctica. They live among ice floes near water sources such as glaciers or rocks where they feed on krill (a small shrimp-like creature) and fish that swim close to shore.

The Adelie penguin is the smallest species of the Antarctic penguins, and it has a black head with white cheeks! They have been known to travel as far north as South Africa during their migration season.

2. Antarctic Fur Seal

Scientific NameArctocephalus gazella
Type of AnimalMammal
Range Antarctica
DietCarnivore

The Antarctic fur seal is one of the seals that live in Antarctica. They are found along rocky coasts, much like penguins.

These creatures can dive deep down into the water to find food and have a layer of blubber, just like whales do so it helps them keep warm.

One interesting fact about the Antarctic Fur seal is that they tend to molt from March to September.

This is because this region experiences 24 hours of daylight which can be very stressful on animals.

3. Antarctic Orca

orca
Scientific NameOrcinus orca
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

Orca Whales are perhaps the most well-known type of whale that lives in Antarctica. They can be found all over the world, but you will find them at their highest population levels near Antarctica.

Orcas hunt for fish and krill by using echolocation to help with navigation underwater since they do not rely on sight.

We all know that Orcas are among the biggest of whales and can grow up to 30ft. long and weigh 12,000 lb.

4. Antarctic Petrel

Petrel
Scientific NameThalassoica antarctica
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctic seas and the Antarctic continent
DietHerbivore

The Antarctic Petrel is considered to be of the most common birds in Antarctica. They are found on many islands within this continent and even nest near penguin colonies.

During the breeding season, they tend to stay close together while out at sea but feed alone when not nesting or during bad weather conditions.

5. Blue Whale

Blue Whale
Scientific NameBalaenoptera musculus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

The Blue Whale is the largest animal on Earth. It can grow between 70 and 80 feet long and weigh as much as 150 tons.

They are found in cold waters throughout the world, but Antarctica does not have a large population of blue whales.

Scientists think that this might be due to their migratory behavior and how they do not feed in the colder winter months.

6. Blue-Eyed Cormorant

cormorant
Scientific NameLeucocarbo
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctic peninsula
DietOmnivore

The blue-eyed cormorant lives along the coast of Antarctica. They are medium-sized birds that have long necks and pointed bills.

Their feathers are dark black with a greenish tinge to them, their wings are also black but they contain white specks.

These birds can grow up to 80 cm long and they feed on various types of fish, crustaceans, octopuses, worms, snails, and slugs.

7. Chinstrap Penguin

Scientific NamePygoscelis antarcticus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctic Peninsula
DietCarnivore

A chinstrap penguin is a type of penguin that lives in the Antarctic region. This bird has two black stripes under its chin, which gives it its name.

Chinstraps are about 28–30 inches tall and weigh between 7–13 pounds. They live close to shore where they can find food such as krill or small fish.

8. Crabeater Seal

Scientific NameLobodon carcinophagus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

The crabeater seal lives in the Antarctic Ocean and is one of the most abundant seals.

This means that they are found in many places throughout Antarctica, especially on its coastal shelves.

They can be seen living around ice flows (which contain floating chunks of ice), icebergs (a large piece or pieces of compacted glacial ice broken off of a glacier) and pack ice (which is floating seawater that contains broken pieces of ice).

You can find them in both shallow waters and along the coast to deeper areas.

The crabeater seal has many predators including orcas, leopard seals, sharks, skuas, and Antarctic minke whales.

9. Emperor Penguin

Emperor Penguin
Scientific NameAptenodytes forsteri
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

The emperor penguin is the largest species of penguin in existence. They can be up to four feet tall and weigh 100 pounds.

The Emperor Penguin is native to Antarctica’s mainland, however, they are only found on the ice during the breeding season which occurs between June through August.

After mating with their partner for life, female emperors lay a single egg between May and June. Once the baby is hatched, it takes up to five months for them to be big enough before they leave their parents.

Emperor penguins are carnivores which means that they only eat meat. They feed on fish such as silver salmon, mackerel icefish, and squid found in the surrounding waters of Antarctica.

10. Fin Whale

Scientific NameBalaenoptera physalus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAll open oceans
DietCarnivore

Fin whales are found in the Antarctic oceans. They can be up to 85 feet long and weigh about 160,000 pounds.

The fin whale also has a very large dorsal fin which is not typical of most other species.

This makes it easy for researchers to identify this specific type of animal from others around them.

Fin whales eat krill, plankton, and copepods. They also swallow their food whole without chewing.

11. Gentoo Penguin

Scientific NamePygoscelis papua
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesub-Antarctic islands
DietCarnivore

The Gentoo Penguin is one of the most recognizable animals that live in Antarctica. It gets its name from a distinctive white feather marking on the head of juveniles and breeding adults but otherwise looks similar to other penguin species.

They eat various kinds of fish, cephalopods, crustaceans, and zooplankton depending on what is available to them in the area.

They start breeding in early June each year on rocky, ice-free coasts!

12. Hourglass Dolphin

Scientific NameLagenorhynchus cruciger
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

The Hourglass Dolphin is a unique dolphin that can be found in Antarctic waters. This mammal averages about six to eight feet long and weighs around 240 pounds.

However, one of the most interesting things about this animal is its face! The top half of their body is black while the bottom half contains white markings resembling an hourglass shape on both sides.

This pattern is distinctive to each individual dolphin and can be used for identification purposes.

13. Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale
Scientific NameMegaptera novaeangliae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEvery ocean in the world
DietCarnivore

The Humpback whale is more commonly found in Antarctica during the feeding season because it has a large supply of food to last all year long.

They are known for their loud underwater songs that can be heard several miles away. During mating, they will make a singing noise nonstop until they find a mate.

The Humpback whale is able to create sounds, which are used for communication purposes as well.

These whales have a very unique way of communicating through their sound-making abilities in order to attract mates or let others know where they are.

14. Kelp Gull

Kelp Gull
Scientific NameLarus dominicanus
Type of AnimalBird
Range Antarctica and many sub-Antarctic islands
DietOmnivore

Kelp Gulls are seabirds that live in Antarctica. They have long, narrow wings and feed on small fish, squid, or krill found beneath the sea surface. These birds are very social animals because they often travel with other species of gulls while fishing for food.

15. King Penguin

King Penguin
Scientific NameAptenodytes patagonicus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

King Penguins are a species of penguin that lives in Antarctica. They usually live near the coasts during the summer and migrate to open water for feeding during winter.

King Penguins have been found at depths up to 1,125 ft feet when looking for food.

This bird has an interesting mating ritual where they do not build nests but rather incubate their eggs on top of their feet, turning them around to evenly distribute the heat.

16. Krill

Krill
Scientific NameEuphausiacea
Type of AnimalMalacostracans
RangeThroughout the ocean
DietOmnivore

Antarctica is home to a variety of krill. Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans that thrive in the water surrounding Antarctica.

They play an important role within their habitat because they eat algae, plankton, and other types of small aquatic lifeforms.

This allows for various fish species to feed on them as well as whales.

17. Leopard Seal

Leopard Seal
Scientific NameHydrurga leptonyx
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctic
DietOmnivore

The leopard seal is one of the most interesting animals that live in Antarctica! They are named after their dark spots resembling a “leopard”.

These seals mostly feed on krill, fish, and squid but they have also been known to hunt penguins or other mammals for food.

Leopard Seals can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes before having to come up for air.

18. Macaroni Penguin

Scientific NameEudyptes chrysolophus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctic Peninsula
DietCarnivore

The fourth-smallest of the penguin species, macaroni penguins can grow up to 38 inches tall and weigh up to 11 lb.

They have a yellow crown with white stripes on their head. Their beak is long with pink coloring at the base, while their feet are orange-yellow in color.

Their diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods. They can be found in the open sea as well as around Antarctic coasts!

19. Minke Whale

Scientific NameBalaenoptera acutorostrata
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangenorthern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
DietCarnivore

Minke whales are the second smallest baleen whale. They can be found in all of Earth’s oceans, but they prefer areas with cold water and ice.

These mammals live to about 50 years old and feed on small fish, krill, crustaceans, squid, or other zooplankton.

Minke whales do not migrate like other whales because they are not highly migratory.

20. Ross Seal

Scientific NameOmmatophoca rossii
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

Ross Seals live in the Antarctic and eat krill, fish, squid, and octopus. They occasionally hunt penguins as well.

For this reason, they are considered a large predator living at or near the top of their food chain.

21. Southern Elephant Seal

elephant seal
Scientific NameMirounga leonina
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctic and Antarctic waters
DietCarnivore

One of the most common animals in Antarctica is the Southern Elephant seal. These seals are considered carnivores, which means they only eat meat.

They live on both coasts and breed on small beaches throughout the continent during winter.

The females give birth to a pup after fasting for one month while out at sea hunting fish under thick ice sheets that protect the pups from predators.

22. Southern Right Whale

Scientific NameEubalaena australis
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesouthern and sub-antarctic oceans
DietCarnivore

The Southern right whale is one of the large baleen whales that has been called the gentle giant.

They can grow up to 60 feet long and weigh as much as 176,000 pounds. These whales live in groups of about 10 to 12 individuals and eat small crustaceans like krill and plankton.

The biggest threat for this type of whale is humans and they are often killed for their oil and baleen which was used in the past to make things like soap.

23. Walrus

Walrus
Scientific NameOdobenus rosmarus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeArctic and sub-Arctic regions
DietOmnivore

The walrus is a large animal that lives in the Arctic Ocean. They are easily identified by their large tusks and whiskers.

The male can weigh between 1,764 and 3,748 lb while females only reach about half of that weight at 882-2,756 lb.

Walruses like to feed on shellfish, mollusks, crabs, and sea urchins.

24. Wandering Albatross

Albatross
Scientific NameDiomedea exulans
Type of AnimalBird
Range sub-Antarctic regions
DietCarnivore

Antarctica is home to many different species of birds, but one really unique bird that lives in the region is the Wandering Albatross.

These large seabirds can grow up to be about four feet tall and have a wingspan as long as eleven feet.

The wandering albatross spends most of its life on open water and only comes to land in order to breed.

This bird is famous for being able to stay in the air without flapping its wings and soaring for several hours at a time.

25. Weddell Seal

Scientific NameLeptonychotes weddellii
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAntarctica
DietCarnivore

Weddell seals are one of the few mammals that can be found in Antarctica.

They use their sharp teeth to catch fish, squid, and other marine animals. These creatures can stay underwater for up to 80 minutes at a time and dive as deep as 600 meters (2000 feet)!

This is amazing considering they only weigh about 400–500kg.

Their ability to stay underwater for so long has allowed them to survive in the harsh environment that is Antarctica.

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