A selection of animals that live in the tundra include polar bears, arctic foxes, arctic hares, caribou, lemmings, snowy owls and musk oxen. Of all biome types, the tundra is the coldest, and its name comes from the Finnish word "tunturia," meaning "treeless plain."
Because the soil, named permafrost, is always frozen, plants only grow for a short period of time. Trees cannot root in permafrost and with the lack of precipitation throughout the year or sunlight during the winter, the small amount of plant life found in the tundralies dormant for many months of the year. Under these conditions, the animals that live in the tundra have adapted to live in the extreme conditions found
The arctic fox has short ears and a short body with lots of fur to help it lower the amount of skin exposed to the elements. The musk ox can survive in the tundra due to its long hair that reaches lengths of 24 inches, which almost reaches the ground. All of the musk ox's days are dedicated to eating as much plant life as it can to build up its fat reserves for the winter. Some animals' population numbers are directly proportional to each other. Lemmings feed on plant life, but if there is a shortage one year, the number of lemmings surviving decreases. The lemming is the primary food source for the snowy owl, and with lower numbers of lemmings to feed on the number of owls drop too.