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Animals of Antarctica Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world, but most human beings steer clear of the below freezing temperatures! However, there are many animals that love living in this chilly place. Learn about the different species that can be found at the South Pole!

Life in Antarctica

It takes a special type of animal to be able to make it in Antarctica. Antarctica is the fifth largest continent, but has the smallest human population because of its freezing conditions. Living at the South Pole is not for the weak! While most human beings are not flocking to live on the ice covered continent, more than 250 species call Antarctica their home. These species are known as extremophiles because of their ability to adapt to the extremely cold temperatures and living conditions in Antarctica. Some of these extremophiles live on the snowy, icy land and others swim in the freezing waters.

Penguins

The Chinstrap Penguin is one the most aggressive penguins in Antarctica
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One of the most common extremophiles living on the land in Antarctica is the penguin. Penguins are birds that cannot fly. There are 17 different species of penguins in Antarctica, one of them being the Emperor penguin. One of the most unique features of the Emperor penguin is that it is actually the father penguin who keeps the egg warm after the mother walks off and leaves (bye mom!). It takes about 65 days for the egg to hatch - talk about Father of the Year! Don't worry - the mom will eventually come back after swimming around the ocean for a couple of months gathering fish to feed to the baby penguin. King penguins are another common penguin that can be found in Antarctica. They stay warm with their four layers of feathers. One of the best parts about being a penguin in Antarctica is that they have no predators, or animals that will eat them, on land. However, they need to be aware and alert of the predators that are after them in the water!

Whales and Seals

This leopard seal looks hungry...
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