Surprised that any animals at all live in the frigid wilds of Antarctica? Antarctica is abundant with animal life. The most familiar are penguins. Most species of penguins live in the Southern hemisphere, and most of them live on the coasts of Antarctica. Though described as flightless, they don't fly through air, but through water as they search for prey like crustaceans, squid and krill. Flying underwater, penguins are graceful and even acrobatic. Most have the well known 'tuxedo' coloring: black back, head, flippers and white front. The largest penguins are the King Penguin
, which is about three feet tall and has beautiful, sunset orange markings on its head and neck, and its larger relative, the Emperor Penguin
, which has the same coloring and grows to about four feet tall. A quite interesting and funny looking penguin is the Macaroni penguin
, which has a spray of yellow feathers on its forehead. Most penguins engage in intricate and loud courtship rituals before they settle down and lay one or two eggs.
Other animals native to Antarctica are seals, including the Weddell seal
. They like to live on the Antarctic shores, and stay warm in the cold thanks to their fur and layer of blubber. Males and females are about the same size. Part of the seal's diet is penguins, a well as fish, and the omnipresent krill. To find their prey, Weddell seals have been known to dive over two thousand feet into the ocean. They in turn are eaten by the voracious leopard seal
and killer whales
Antarctic krill are arguably the most abundant animals on earth, so abundant that they can easily feed even a population of blue whales
, the largest animal alive, as well as penguins, seals, fish and squid. Even humans eat them. Antarctic krill very much resemble shrimp, grow to about two and half inches long, and are bioluminescent. They are surprisingly long-lived for crustaceans and can live six years -- if they're not eaten first. They eat phytoplankton, tiny plant life that drift in the upper, sunny layers of the ocean.
These are only a few animals native to Antarctica.