There are not many animals that can withstand the harsh weather of Antarctica. As a result, there are no land based mammals in Antarctica. You can expect to see a variety of whales that reside in the oceans surrounding Antarctica, species include Killer whales, humpback whales, Minke Whales, Orca’s, Fin Whales & sperm whales.
The most famous wildlife species in Antarctica are the penguins, with common species being Adelie, Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Macaroni. There is a large seal population in the Antarctic waters, which include Weddell Seals, Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals & Southern Elephant Seals. Several kinds of albatross are found in Antarctica as well as many petrels.
There are a number of whales that reside in the oceans surrounding Antarctica; species include Right, Blue, Sei, Killer, Humpback, Minke, Orca, Fin & Sperm whales. There are also some other smaller and rarer species such as the Southern Bottlenose, Arnoux’s beaked whale and the southern hourglass dolphin. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica, whales do not breed in the region. However, they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the summer months, travelling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north.
The main species of penguins that are found on or near continental Antarctica are the Adelie, Chinstrap, Emperor, Macaroni & Gentoo Penguins. They are the most common birds found in the Antarctic, living in colonies of thousands, surviving in the harshest of conditions. A healthy adult penguin on land has no natural predators, though eggs and chicks are eaten by other birds (skuas and giant petrels).
A healthy adult penguin on land has no natural predators, though eggs and chicks are eaten by other birds (skuas and giant petrels). Penguins usually live in places free of land predators, against which they would be defenceless. However, in water, penguins are hunted by leopard seals and killer whales. Leopard seals cruise the ice edge next to penguin colonies, waiting for them to plunge into the water.
Penguins will be seen on most excursions & they are so cute – although the smell of the years of defrosted & new Guano (pooh) is not so appealing. Watching them “fly” out of the water onto shore & how they jump over little rocks is fascinating & quite comical.
Without wanting it seals have played a key role in the discovery of Antarctica. Sealers discovered much of the land and most of the islands during their predatory raids. There are 4 truly Antarctic species of seals: the Weddell, the Ross, the Crabeater and the Leopard and 2 more that visit the continent, the Elephant and the Fur Seal. Each of the species feeds on a different diet, or in a different region, so there is little competition between them for resources. The Leopard seals are considered the most ferocious probably because they eat penguins. They will lurk close to the penguin colonies hoping to quickly grab a penguin.