Antarctica animals have to endure a climate that is arguably the harshest in the world, and since life gets harder the further inland you go, most creatures stay close to the sea. The Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica is full of krill, which are essentially the bottom of the food chain. It also yields fish that many of the larger Antarctica animals include in their diets. The larger the animal, the higher up on the food chain it figures in Antarctica, as one might imagine, though the largest creatures here don't eat what you might think.
The blue whales that frequent the waters of the Southern Ocean come summertime only eat krill and other small crustaceans, which is surprising when you consider that they can weigh anywhere from 85 to 150 tons! Blue whales are the largest animals on the planet, and they are just one of the whale species that you can expect to view on your Antarctica tour. As summer begins to wane in the southern hemisphere, the whales migrate north, looking for warmer seas. Many Antarctica animals make a break for more northerly destinations as winter approaches, which has everything to do with the brutal wintertime weather and the lack of sunlight.
For most visitors, seeing Antarctica penguins is a main priority. The Antarctica penguins are many, and they come in a range of shapes and sizes. Among the most renowned are the emperor penguins, which are the largest penguins in the world. Unlike most Antarctica animals, emperor penguins don't leave during the winter. The Antarctica penguins that do leave the continent in the winter don't go very far. They usually head to the subantarctic islands or other northerly destinations that offer friendlier wintertime climates. In addition to penguins and whales, those who are hoping to view Antarctica wildlife can also expect to see various seal species on their tours.
There are six different species that you can expect to see when it comes to the seals of Antarctica, and these seals can be quite large. The southern elephant seals are the largest, and they can measure fifteen feet in length and weigh up to 8,800 pounds. Squid and fish make up the diet of the southern elephant seals, and it's the same for most of the other seal species as well. Some seals in Antarctica also eat krill, penguins, and even other seals on occasion. Antarctica wildlife isn't all about the animals that stick to the sea, the ice shelves, and the land. There are a lot of interesting bird species that take to the Antarctic skies, and they include albatross, an array of petrel species, terns, skuas, and south Georgia pipits, among others. Birdwatching enthusiasts should find that Antarctica can be a most rewarding destination to visit.
If you are planning on heading south to view the Antarctica animals, November through March is the best time to go. Virtually all of the Antarctica tours are conducted during these months, as the weather is at its warmest. Summertime in Antarctica coincides with wintertime in the northern hemisphere, and it can see temperatures of up to 60 degrees on the Antarctic Peninsula. Summer here also brings lots of sunlight, which can last for 24 hours a day in some parts. While you're pretty much guaranteed to see all of the different Antarctica animals during your visit, there are specific periods that are most ideal for certain things. February and March, for example, are the best months for whale watching, whereas December and January are the best months for viewing penguin offspring.
There is a fine balance to things when it comes to Antarctica wildlife, and the relative lack of human intervention helps to make for an environment that is about as pristine as they come. Wildlife viewing is one of the top things to do in Antarctica, and when you're not admiring the animals, you're bound to find yourself gazing in amazement at the unique landscape. Antarctica travel is only growing in popularity, thanks to the wildlife and the dramatic scenery, and you definitely won't want to forget your camera if you're planning a future visit.