tundra wildlife


On our planet there are different ecosystems with unique characteristics that make the vegetation and fauna that develops in them different. One of the ecosystems we are going to study is the tundra. The tundra fauna It has been developed in an environment that is somewhat complicated. However, species are able to adapt to the environment in order to survive and develop.

In this article we are going to tell you about the characteristics of the fauna of the tundra, how they survive and what their way of life is.

tundra ecosystem

tundra fauna

We can define the tundra as biomes that are devoid of vegetation due to their climate, since they are areas that extend from the polar regions of the earth. This is a place where vegetation is almost non-existent since it extends beyond the area where the trees grow.

However, due to the cold and wet weather, the ground was covered with moss and lichen, and even arctic willow trees grew in some places. This is thanks to its summers, which although short (they last no more than two months), are much colder than the winters, although they rarely exceed 10 degrees.

It turns out that it doesn't get much rain here, so the little vegetation that grows can support life and thus become food for tundra fauna. They are usually flat surfaces with ice cubes underneath, which can be between 30 cm and 1 m thick. Thus, the water in these places cannot drain, it stagnates, forming lagoons and swamps They provide the moisture necessary for the survival of plants.

Continued melting creates geometric cracks in the ground, and where the ice does not disappear, nodules and mounds can be seen on the surface. It's also easy to find lichen-covered rocky landscapes, which allow a variety of animals to have their own little habitats.

tundra wildlife

kind of landscapes

Due to the strange climate of the tundra, the fauna must be prepared to withstand the heat, so it is possible to find species that we do not see anywhere else. These include:

  • reindeer: they always go to the tundra when summer comes because they can't stand the heat anywhere else. The tundra provides them with a climate of up to 10 degrees.
  • Musk ox. In addition to its name "Musk", it has a strong odor that makes it attractive to women. They are covered in lush, chocolate-brown hair that can withstand low temperatures and can grow up to 60 cm long.
  • Arctic hare. This white rabbit with black spots on its long ears looks more like a rabbit, but no, it is one of the largest hares in the world. It has a thick skin covered with thick and soft hair that protects it from low temperatures.
  • snow goat: It is a common type of goat that can be found in the fauna of the tundra, since its hair and physical strength make it ideal for living in the climates of these biomes.
  • Lemmings: they are small furry rodents that, out of curiosity, we will tell you, are known for their suicidal tendencies, they do it collectively by throwing themselves into the sea.

In addition to these animals, other common species such as polar bears, wolves, eagles, owls can be found in the tundra fauna; in the water, fish like salmon. In addition to the fauna of the tundra, there is a large flora, composed mainly of grasses and small shrubs, thanks to the humidity created by the subsoil ice.

Types of tundra

arctic tundra fauna

arctic tundra

We can place it in the northern hemisphere under the Arctic ice cap, stretching from inhospitable territory to the edge of the taiga-defined taiga. On a map, it would be half of Canada and a large part of Alaska.

In most cases, we can find a layer of frozen subsoil, commonly called permafrost, which is made up mostly of finer materials. When water saturates the upper surface, peat bogs and ponds form, providing water for plants.

Arctic tundra vegetation does not have deep root systems, but there are still a variety of plants that can withstand cold weather: low shrubs, mosses, sedges, earthworms, and grasses... etc.

The animals are adapted to withstand long, cold winters and reproduce and multiply rapidly in the summer. Animals like mammals and birds also have extra fat insulation. Many animals hibernate in winter due to lack of food. Another option is to migrate south for the winter, as birds do.

Due to extremely cold temperatures, reptiles and amphibians are few or non-existent. The population is in constant oscillation due to constant immigration and immigration.

Alpine tundra

It is located in a mountainous region anywhere on the planet, at a significant height above sea level, and no trees grow at all. The growing period is about 180 days. Night temperatures are often below freezing. Unlike the arctic tundra, the soil in the Alps is well drained.

These plants are very similar to those found in the Arctic and include herbaceous plants such as grasses, small-leaved shrubs and heathers, dwarf trees. The animals that live in the alpine tundra are also well adapted: mammals like marmots, goats, sheep, birds with tough fur, and insects like beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies, and more.

antarctic tundra

It is one of the less common tundra ecosystems. We can see it in the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, which are part of the British Territory, as well as in some of the Kergallen Islands.


Due to its altitude and proximity to the poles, tundra weather will stay below freezing for most of the year, about 6 to 10 months. Let us remember the non-living elements, such as the soil or earth, mountains, water, the atmosphere, etc. It's called a biome and it's interesting to study.

In general, tundra winters are long, dark, extremely cold and dry, reaching as low as -70 degrees Celsius in some areas. Although the surface is snowed most of the year, some light precipitation occurs in the form of snow during the summer, when temperatures drop.

In extreme regions, the average temperature is -12 to -6 degrees centigrade. In winter they can reach 34 degrees centimeters, while in summer they usually reach -3 ºC. If we talk about highlands or mountains, in summer they can reach 10 degrees Celsius, but at night it will be a few degrees below zero to protect themselves.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the fauna of the tundra and its characteristics.

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