A wide range of animals live in the taiga, including thousands of insect species, hundreds of bird species, 130 species of fish, 85 species of mammals and a few species of amphibians and reptiles. The animal species living in the taiga have adapted to live in the cold climate or migrate to warmer areas during the long winter.
Many bears live in the taiga, including brown bears, American black bears, Asiatic black bears and polar bears. Brown bears are the most widespread of the omnivores in the taiga. They eat a lot in the summer to gain weight before hibernating during the winter.
Other mammals in the taiga include moose, caribou, deer and wood bison. Smaller animals include beavers, hares, squirrels and porcupines.
For fish to survive in the taiga, they must withstand cold water temperatures and ice-covered water. Alaska blackfish, brook trout, chum salmon, longnose sucker, northern pike, walleye, white sucker and various species of whitefish are some of the fish species that live in the taiga.
Most reptiles and amphibians in the taiga hibernate underground during winter. Since they rely on environmental conditions to regulate body temperature, this is a tough environment for them. The few species of reptiles and amphibians that live in the taiga include American toads, blue-spotted salamanders, boreal chorus frogs, Canadian toads, common European adders, northern leopard frogs, northern two-lined salamanders, red-sided garter snakes, Siberian salamanders and wood frogs.
Many birds nest in the taiga, but only 30 species stay during the winter. Most of the species that stay are large raptors, such as Golden Eagles, rough-legged buzzards and ravens. A few species of seed-eating birds, such as grouse and crossbills, also stay through winter.