What Animals Live in the Tundra?

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Despite the harsh climate, the tundra is home to many animals, including herbivores, such as lemmings, voles, and caribou, and predators, such as polar bears, wolves and foxes. In addition to a few species, which inhabit the tundra all year, a number of migratory birds inhabit the area during the summer. Insects are also important residents of the tundra, as they are in most other terrestrial habitats.

The herbivores of the tundra feed on low shrubs, sedges, mosses and lichens. In addition to these plants, insects also scavenge dead animals and drink nectar from the numerous flowers. The carnivores primarily hunt herbivores, but they also consume insects and other predators from time to time. Some carnivores, for example foxes, also eat berries, seeds and fruit when they can find it.

Most animals living in the tundra have evolved the ability to raise their young very quickly in the short summer. To survive the long, cold winters, most animals of the tundra carry a thick layer of body fat to provide insulation. According to PBS, polar bears possess a layer of fat that is sometimes 4 inches thick.

Some humans inhabit the tundra. Those who live in the harsh habitat consume caribou, seals, birds and fish.