What Are Arctic Tundra Animal Adaptations?

Animals of the Arctic tundra have adapted to survive frigid conditions, according to the Conservation Institute. Lemmings, Arctic hares and Arctic ground squirrels are a few animals that have adapted to the cold.

The Conservation Institute notes that there are a few common elements that tie many tundra animals together, such as heat retention in the body, trapped air insulation, fat insulation and oil that keeps moisture at bay. Other animals such as Arctic and tundra wolves, polar bears and Musk ox are also well adapted to the Arctic environment. These animals have adopted various defense mechanisms that keep their bodies protected from extremely cold weather. For instance, the extra blubber of polar bears keeps them well protected against the Arctic elements. Their oily coat also keeps moisture away as they swim in the water. Polar bear fur also serves as insulation, which keeps warm air trapped in the body.

The long coats of Musk ox helps in keeping warm air inside the body. Musk ox tend to huddle in groups, generating more heat, while protecting their young from predators such as wolves. Arctic squirrels also use oxen hair to line their burrows. Arctic hares are also animals that huddle together in groups for heat generation. The legs of Arctic wolves are shorter than their wolf counterparts abroad, and their ears are rounded and smaller. Smaller body parts help organisms survive in the cold.