Marine Life In Antarctica
The freezing waters off Antarctica are the summer home for many marine animals. Aquatic animals such as whales and seals have an insulating layer of fat to protect them from the cold and even many fish and insects have antifreeze-like chemicals in their blood to prevent them from freezing.
There are eight species of whale found in Antarctic waters, the Blue, Fin, Humpback,
Minke, Orca, Sei, Southern Right and Sperm. Of these, the most impressive is the
Blue Whale, weighing in at over 130 tons, the largest mammal ever to live on the
planet and now gradually recovering in numbers after being nearly hunted to extinction.
It is nevertheless still rare and the chances of seeing one when watching for whales
are extremely unlikely.
While there, the whales feed on the rich supply of krill (small prawn-like animals). Some animals found in Antarctica, such as whales, migrate during the coldest months from June until August when the temperature falls and ice starts to cover the sea. At this time they begin their migration to warmer waters to breed and calve.
Another prominent member of the Antarctic wildlife community is the seal. Species common to Antarctica are the Fur, Ross, Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard. One of the most viewed of Antarctic animals is the fur seal and some visitors will be fortunate enough to see one of the one-in-a thousand blonde furred specimens. The largest of the Antarctica animals to be seen on the ice is the massive, lumbering Southern Elephant Seal, which transforms in the water into a sleek swimming machine competing with other Antarctic wildlife for the abundant supplies of krill.
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