What Animals Are Found in the Polar Region?

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Several types of animals live in the Earth’s cold polar regions, including polar bears, Arctic foxes, whales, Arctic wolves, brown bears, Pacific salmon, caribou, walruses, auks, penguins, Arctic owls, lemmings, Arctic hares, narwhals and killer whales. Due to a lack of vegetation, most animals in the polar regions are carnivores. Penguins feed on fish in cold Antarctic waters. Meanwhile, leopard seals and killer whales feed on penguins.

Close to the North Pole, lemmings and Arctic hares eat what little vegetation that grows from the ground; foxes, owls and wolves follow these smaller herbivores and eat them. The top of the Arctic food chain features polar bears and Arctic wolves. Fish-feeders of the Arctic include sea lions, seals, narwhals, walruses, killer whales and whales.

The South Pole contains different animals. Penguins live on the mainland and on islands surrounding the continent. These flightless birds eat fish, crabs, lobsters and mollusks in the surrounding waters. Leopard seals inhabit the islands, while killer whales swim near the coast to eat penguins. Whales follow food sources towards Antarctica when currents take fish, krill and plankton to these colder waters.

An international treaty prevents any individual country from claiming territory on Antarctica. The Arctic Circle covers territories of a few countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Canada and the United States.