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Animals manage to survive in a wide variety of climates, from the depths of the ocean to arid deserts. One of the most amazing places that animals have found ways to live is the Arctic, where temperatures plummet during the winter and animals have to use every trick in the book to stay alive. Check out these amazing survival methods from our friends to the North.
1. Caribou are a common sight in the Arctic and they use a couple of different methods to remain warm. Like many animals in cold temperatures they have hollow hairs and a thick coat as their first line of defense. But the second method of staying warm is to move south to the forests, where trees help protect them from wind and snow.
2. Lemmings are tricky little creatures. Of course they have a serious fur coat, but in winter they burrow into the snow, which is much warmer than you’d expect. Snow traps air, which makes it a great insulator, and as a bonus the time in the tunnels keeps lemmings safe from predators.
3. Ground squirrels have even lemmings beat. Before the winter comes they make their burrows and go one step further: they grab Musk Ox hair, leaves, and lichen to insulate their burrow, and once they finally head down into the burrow they hibernate in a serious way, with body temperatures hovering just over freezing and their bodies switching over to a vegetative state. They can sleep for seven months.
4. Arctic wolves are a little different from most other wolves. They’re more compact, with shorter legs, smaller ears, and a shorter muzzle that keeps them from losing heat. Even better, they have two full layers of fur, both thick and insulating. The undercoat gives them a nice layer of trapped air that they keep warm with their body heat, providing great insulation.
5. The iconic polar bear has quite a few ways to stay warm. Since they spend a lot of time in the water, their coat is oily which helps them shed moisture and stay warm. But in addition to their thick, insulating fur, they also have a layer of blubber. Just like many whales, this helps keep them warm, as fat is a better insulator than muscle.
6. At the other side of the world in the Antarctic, there’s an octopus that takes a completely different tactic from the rest of the creatures here. These octopuses have a special pigment in their blood call haemocyanin. This pigment has copper, which is an ion that binds to oxygen. Thanks to that ion, the octopuses can still live an aerobic lifestyle, releasing oxygen into their tissue. The pigment also happens to turn their blood blue.