Arctic Animals - There is a greater variety of animals in the Arctic than the Antarctic. The North Pole is sea surrounded by the land masses of North America, Europe and Asia so there is a land connection to the south. This means that far more land animals can reach the far north in the warmer months and migrate south again when it gets cold again.

Arctic Animals - Quick-Look
An illustrated overview - more quick looks

A brief introduction to a range of animals that live in the Arctic North. 15 images with simple captions and links to the larger picture page as a slide-show. Arctic animals in more detail


Slide Pack - Start slideshow here

Polar bear 1 - Polar Bears and the world's largest land predator, they spend most of their lives in the far north where they hunt on sea-ice.

Arctic fox in winter coat 2 - The Arctic Fox lives further north than trees can grow, they have two coats a year, a thick white winter one and a thinner grey-brown summer one.

Arctic wolf3 - The Arctic Wolf, also known as Polar Wolf or White Wolf is closely related to other wolves, their fur is often white but may be quite grey in some individuals.


bearded seal 4 - Bearded Seals have large numerous whiskers that help them find food in soft bottom sediments.

Arctic Hare5 - Arctic Hares are another animals with a thick white coat for winter and a thinner brown one for summer, those that live the furthest north have a white one year round.

Crabeater seals 6 - Narwhals have a long straight twisted tusk developed from a tooth, in the past people thought that narwhal tusks came from unicorns.


7 - Named Reindeer in Europe and Caribou in North America, these are the only deer where both males and females have antlers, they have been herded by humans for thousands of years.

Musk oxen 8 - Musk oxen are more closely related to sheep than oxen, they live in some of the coldest places in the Arctic.

9 - Arctic woolly bear moth caterpillars spend most of their lives frozen, they are active for just a few weeks in the summer, after about seven years, they become a moth which lives for a weeks or months only.


Arctic tern10 - Arctic terns fly from one pole to the other and back again every year spending the summer in each, they see more daylight than any other animal on earth.

Wolverine11 - Wolverines are related to weasels though look like small bears, they are known for being tough and strong.

Walrus Male - Maxwell Bay, Prince Leopold Island 12 - Walruses are very large seals with two large tusks they can use to help them climb out of the sea onto ice.


bald eagle13 - The Bald Eagle is an American icon, it is found across most of Canada and Alaska in the north too, it isn't actually bald, but has a white head.

Atlantic puffins14 - Puffins are small seabirds that nest in burrows or rock crevices in colonies, their beaks become brightly coloured in the breeding season.

Male ribbon seal15 - The Ribbon Seal is very clearly marked with black fur and wide white markings, it lives in the Pacific Ocean region of the Arctic.


Picture credits: Arctic fox - Algkalv, under creative commons, attribution 3.0 licence / Arctic wolf - tsaiproject, used under creative commons, 2.0 licence / Arctic hare - Steve Sayles, used under creative commons attribution 2.0 generic license. / Musk oxen -  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, used under creative commons attribution 2.0 license. / Woolly bear moth caterpillar - Mike-Beauregard, used under creative commons, 2.0 licence. / Wolverine - William F Wood, used under creative commons, attribution 4.0 share-alike international licence.