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Image of an Arctic wolf.Arctic Tundra: Animals
Not many kinds of animals live year-round in the Arctic tundra. Most birds and mammals only use the tundra as a summer home. Mammals that do live year-round in the tundra include the muskox, Arctic wolf, and brown bear; and each has its own way of adapting to the extreme climatic conditions. Animals need to find ways to stay warm and to provide nourishment for themselves in order to survive the long, cold, winter months.

Animal adaptations
Migration and hibernation are examples of behavioral adaptations used by animals in the Arctic tundra. The fact that many animals do not live year-round in the tundra means they leave or migrate for a length of time to warmer climates.

Hibernation is a combination of behavioral and physical adaptations. For example, during the summer the brown bear's behavior is to eat just about anything it can find; then it hibernates, or sleeps, during the winter. The bear's physical adaptation allows the food eaten during the summer to be stored as a layer of fat underneath its skin. The layer of fat insulates the bear from the cold. While in hibernation the fat is slowly converted into energy that maintains life.

Image of a Musk Ox.A physical adaptation used by the Musk Ox is the growth of two layers of fur--one short and the other long. Air is trapped in the short layer of fur and is warmed by body heat. The warmed air, trapped close to the body, acts as insulation from the cold. The layer of long fur protects the Musk Ox from the wind and water. In addition to thick layers of fur, the Musk Ox relies on another physical adaptation to help it survive. The hooves of the Musk Ox are large and hard. During the winter months, this adaptation allows the Musk Ox to break the ice and drink the water underneath. Photos 2000-www.arttoday.com

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Arctic Tundra
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Biomes | Biome Summary | How to Read a Climograph | Arctic Tundra | Deciduous Forest | Desert | Taiga | Tropical Rainforest | Tropical Savannah

Diversity | Adaptation | Plate Tectonics | Cycles | Spheres | Biomes | Geologic Time

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