Average annual air temperatures are below freezing (often far below freezing), with several locations seeing lows of -40°C to +10°C (-40°F to +50°F) and highs of +22°C (+72°F) amongst rocks and moss banks.
A major portion of Antarctica is a chilly, usually featureless, frozen desert where temperatures over freezing are rarely reached.
The Antarctic Ocean, which the continent is surrounded by, has an annual temperature range of -2°C to +2°C (+28.4°F to +35.6°F). Since seawater freezes at -2°C (+28.4°F), it cannot be made colder without becoming solid.
Warm-blooded creatures that live in the Arctic and Antarctica include birds and mammals like penguins, whales, bears, foxes, and seals. Depending on the species, their internal body temperatures range from 35 to 42 °C (95 to 107 °F).
To stay active, they must maintain high body temperatures. Because these animals produce their own heat internally, they are called endotherms (endo-inside + therm-heat).
This heat can be rapidly lost due to the cold and wind in the polar areas, resulting in hypothermia (hypo-under).
Many (non-polar) animals are ectotherms (ecto-outside), which implies that their internal heat production is so low that they must rely on their surrounding environment to warm them up to a point where their body and enzymes can function properly.
They often do this by soaking up the sun until they are warm enough to move about. While invertebrates like insects and spiders are often small enough to be able to quickly warm up to the ambient temperature from the air alone without basking in the sunshine, reptiles, and amphibians, do this.
Large ectothermic land animals in the Arctic or Antarctic could never obtain enough energy on a consistent basis from their environment to become sufficiently active once they had cooled.
Therefore, all arctic land creatures of any size must have a warm blood system to be active. Because of the harsh climate, ectotherms can only grow to a maximum size of 13 mm in Antarctica, which is the size of the largest wholly terrestrial (land) species there.
In other words, it would be unlikely for any animal larger than this to be able to warm up sufficiently to become active before it started to get chilly again.
Migrating To Avoid The Cold
Since Antarctica is a land mass encircled by a sizable, extremely cold ocean, unlike the Arctic, only land-dwelling species are unable to easily migrate away from the continent during the lengthy, ferociously cold, and gloomy austral winter.
A flightless midge that only reaches a maximum length of 13mm is the largest terrestrial creature found in Antarctica.
All other Antarctic creatures are either smaller or migrate, spending most of the year outside and away from the arctic tundra and bitter weather. They either fly or swim away before returning.
Although the temperature beneath the skin of whales and seals is the same as their core temperature, the surface temperature of their skin is almost comparable to that of the surrounding water.
This results from a layer of blubber (fat) under the skin’s insulating characteristics. Fur and feathers insulate in the air, while blubber insulates in water.
It’s conceivable for an animal to fall under more than one of these categories at various times, whether daily or yearly.
In this article, we have seen how some animals survive extreme cold. If you have such innovative questions, you must search for these answers here.
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