15 Tundra Animals and Their Characteristics

Anthony Golden
15 Tundra Animals and Their Characteristics

Some of the tundra animals most representativeThey are the arctic hare, caribou, harlequin duck, ptarmigan, polar bear and gray bear. In order to inhabit areas with temperatures as low as the tundra, the animals that inhabit these places have had to adapt over time.

In this way, the species most easily to live under these climatic conditions are those that have survived. In the tundra, there is not as much biodiversity as in the tropical forest or other geographical spaces.

List of tundra animals

Arctic hare

The arctic hare, also called the polar hare, is a species of hare adapted to live in low temperatures.

They can be found in Greenland, Scandinavia, Canada, and Alaska. The polar hare changes the color of its coat during winter to white, while in summer, it maintains a bluish coat.


The caribou is a species belonging to the Cervidae family, which is typical of North America. Its natural habitat is the tundra.

Their relatives are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait, colonizing America. Its body shows traces of evolution to live in the tundra, such as that its hooves developed so as not to sink into the snow when walking.


Ermine can be found in Canada, the Northern United States, and Eurasia.

It can measure between 17 and 33 centimeters, and weighs between 80 and 500 grams approximately. Feeds on rabbits, insects and rodents.

Gray Bear

The gray bear is considered a subspecies of the brown bear. This large bear inhabits Alaska and certain regions of Canada.

They can run at high speeds in short stretches. They feed on plants mainly, honey, rodents and insects.

Harlequin duck

Harlequin ducks receive this name because their colors are reminiscent of the clothing of harlequin clowns.

They have black plumage, with white lines and a reddish area on the back..

Musk ox

The musk ox is the northernmost hoofed animal.

This animal developed a large coat of fur, which allows it to cover itself from the cold throughout the year. They can be found both in North America and in Europe and Asia.


The ptarmigan is a bird that can be found both in the tundra and in the highest parts of the mountain ranges of America and Eurasia.

They have a body with black fur on one side and white on the other, with black spots on the white side and vice versa..

Snowy owl

The snowy owl is adapted to inhabit regions as cold as the tundra. It is also called the snow owl or the great white owl..

It has a white coat with black spots, which camouflages it in the winter landscape.

Polar Bear

The polar bear is an evolution of the common bear, which has adapted to be able to live in the Arctic and become the largest predator in the territory.

It developed a white fur, which allows it to go unnoticed before hunting the prey.

Arctic fox

This species of fox, as its name implies, is a species adapted to the Arctic. It has a grayish coat very characteristic of tundra animals.

It takes shelter in burrows during the winter and is omnivorous, that is, it eats both animals, plants and insects..


Small rodent distributed by the tundras of Russia, the United States and Canada. They are one of the favorite prey of animals such as the arctic fox or the snowy owl.

sea ​​Wolf

Also known as the South American lion, they are located on the southern coasts but also in the Antarctic tundra biome, specifically in the South Sandwich Islands.

Crabeater seal

One of the oldest animals on Earth, living in the Antarctic tundra for 25 million years. It is a large and heavy animal, but capable of swimming at more than 25 km / h.

Mountain hare

Mammal adapted to cold and polar climates, it is located from Scandinavia to Siberia, as well as some areas of Great Britain. It feeds on branches or grass and can change its coat from brown to white depending on the time of year..


Very characteristic animal of the alpine tundra, where they live well adapted to low temperatures thanks to their fur, large tail and small ears. They feed mainly on herbs and roots.


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  4. "Artic Fox" in: National Geographic. Retrieved on November 25, 2017 from National Geographic: nationalgeographic.com.
  5. "Snowy Owl" in All About Birds. Retrieved on November 25, 2017 from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds: allaboutbirds.org.

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