Last updated on February 5th, 2022
The tundra region can be characterized by extremely cold temperatures since it is a series of dense polar forests located in the northern hemisphere covering the Arctic countries like the northernmost regions of Russia.
The ecosystem that one would find here is peculiar in its way, and this space is home to some animals that you wouldn’t be spotting anywhere else across the face of the earth.
Animals that are in the tundra biome:
- Rock Ptarmigan
- Snow Buntings
- Arctic Hares
- Musk Oxen
- Arctic Foxes
- Brown Bears
Here are 9 animals that live in the tundra biome.
1. Rock Ptarmigan
Rock ptarmigans can be found in various places around the North Pole like Canada, Greenland, Sweden, Iceland, and Russia. This makes these birds circumpolar.
However, they usually inhabit the rocky, sloped, elevated areas across the tundra, including them in this list.
While males prefer being in the open, chicks and females, prefer to be hidden to remain protected from predators while using their camouflage to blend in with the surroundings.
They live and feed on various vegetation like twigs, berries, buds, flowers, and leaves. Additionally, they feed insects to their chicks as well.
Furthermore, they are pretty medium-sized. They may molt multiple times within a year, a time when they change colors.
The eggs take about 3 weeks of incubation before they hatch and within two weeks, the young acquire their fledging feathers.
2. Snow Buntings
A passerine bird, the snow bunting, is known as an arctic specialist. Mostly found in the northern hemisphere, it is predominantly an inhabitant of the circumpolar region.
But, of course, a small population of these little birds can be scattered across certain snow-capped highlands and mountains south of the Arctic Circle.
It is a medium-sized dimorphic species that dwells on the ground mainly. They usually migrate to the arctic from April to reproduce.
They eat a variety of grass, seeds, butterflies, wasps, spiders, and a multitude of wild berries.
Additionally, the snow buntings have a distinctive whistle that has a rippling effect in them.
3. Arctic Hares
Arctic hares prevail across various parts of Greenland, the extreme northern parts of Canada as well as the tundra biome.
Occupants of the tundra regions make their shelters in the snow itself to survive the extreme cold.
While they may grow to up to twenty-six inches, an adult arctic hare can weigh around fourteen pounds.
They are extremely fond of most tundra vegetation, like mosses, berries, twigs, woody plants, buds, and more.
They use their rather large hind feet to move around and use their claws to dig deep within the snow in search of food.
They flash a white coat all winter, while in summer, that changes to gray-brown or even a blue-gray coat.
After mating in spring, the female arctic hare will give birth to a litter of offspring, usually between late June and early July.
The arctic mosquitoes mostly inhabit the shallow ponds of the tundra, however, they are also abundant across Greenland, especially during June and July.
Although they make a good food source for many animals, they are an absolute pestilence to humans and wildlife.
Their eggs remain frozen over the winter months. As the ponds begin to melt in spring, these eggs hatch into larvae. They take about three weeks to transform into pupae and then into adults.
These mosquitoes are driven to populate areas based on food availability and also the quality of food available.
They may affect the populations of caribous the most, though they are more prevalent in the areas that have shallow ponds.
5. Caribou (Reindeer)
Countries around the Arctic Circle, like Greenland, Canada, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, and Finland, are more common to the population of caribou, which we also call the reindeer.
Even Alaska has a good population of these horned creatures. They are migratory and migrate in mass across the tundra, mainly in search of food.
The thick fur and skin of these creatures allow them to enter the frigid rivers while also adapting to tundra conditions.
Additionally, the wide hooves provide them with ample support when moving around on snow and mud without sinking in.
Male caribous can weigh between 450 pounds and 600 pounds compared to females that weigh between 180 pounds and 220 pounds.
Their mating season, also called the rut, is in autumn, and it is in spring, the female gives birth to a single offspring.
6. Musk Oxen
The Musk Ox is predominantly found in Alaska, Sweden, Russia, Norway, Greenland, and Canada. These creatures grow up to 7.5 feet in length and up to 5 feet in height at the shoulder.
They live in herds that roam within an area where they have access to water and food and these creatures are known for defending themselves by stabbing their predators with their curved horns especially when protecting their young.
Being obligate vegetarians, they eat many types of tundra vegetation like grasses, shrubs, lichens, willow shoots, and more.
They have long brown hairs on their coat as well as an inner coat of wool, which is called qiviut. Additionally, they have some glands that produce a musky odor, hence their name.
They begin mating in mid-summer, and the female gives birth to a single calf in spring.
Closely related to the field mouse, lemmings are small rodents that inhabit northern Alaska, and Canada.
They get their name from their lemming years, a period of about 4 years, when they reach huge numbers across the arctic, which in turn is a great source of food for other animals.
Small ears and short tails are small rodents buried under the snow and remain active even in winter rather than hibernate.
8. Arctic Foxes
Arctic foxes are circumpolar and found in Svalbard, Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, Russia, and Canada.
They are found in both the arctic and alpine tundra regions and they build dens with multiple entrances and exits, near a river bank or at a hillside.
They feed on voles, lemmings, as well as bird eggs. They also eat the leftovers that bear leave behind. Sometimes they eat berries as well.
Additionally, they have soft white fur and they mate in spring then give birth to a litter of kits in about 8 weeks.
9. Brown Bears
Brown bears are distributed Holarctic, which means they can be found across the entire Arctic in the northern hemisphere.
Because of the wide-area across which they are distributed, there are many subspecies like the Kodiak, North American grizzly, East Siberian Kamchatka bear, and more.
While bears usually refrain from attacking humans, it is usually our fault who come too close to these otherwise patient creatures.
Although they are primarily carnivores, they are more omnivorous because of the variety of things that they eat.
The young ones are skilled climbers and in autumn, they eat up a huge quantity of berries, fish, and high-energy foods, then retire into caves to hibernate.
The animals that can be found in the tundra biome are brown bears, arctic foxes, lemmings, musk oxen, caribous, mosquitoes, arctic hares, snow buntings, and rock ptarmigans. However, the brown bears live in the northern regions of the tundra than any other of their species.