Home /


/ 13 Animals in Antarctica: The Coldest Animals Out There

13 Animals in Antarctica: The Coldest Animals Out There

Animals in Antarctica include the Adelie penguin, Emperor penguin, albatross, Gentoo penguin, orca, seal, blue whale, and more.

Most people think of Antarctica as a frozen, uninhabitable wasteland. But what they may not know is that the continent is home to a variety of animals, many of which are uniquely adapted to the frigid environment. 

If you’re fascinated by Antarctica’s animal life and want to learn more about the creatures that call this barren land home, read on. We’ll take a closer look at some of the most common Antarctica animals.

List of 13 Animals That Live in Antarctica

There are many animals that call Antarctica home. One thing they all have in common is that they can withstand extreme cold.

Here are 13 of the most common animals in Antarctica:

  1. Adelie Penguin
  2. Emperor Penguin
  3. Albatross
  4. Gentoo Penguin
  5. Antarctic Orca
  6. Weddell Seal
  7. Blue Whale
  8. Southern Fur Seal
  9. Chinstrap Penguin 
  10. Snow Petrel
  11. Commerson’s Dolphin
  12. Minke Whale
  13. Humpback Whale

1. Adelie Penguin

Adelie Penguins
Scientific NamePygoscelis adeliae
Common NameAdelie Penguin
Animal ClassAves
DietKrill and small fish
Conservation StatusNear threatened

The Adelie penguin is a species of penguin found in Antarctica. The Adelie Penguin is one of the smallest species of penguin, with an average body length of 70 cm (28 in) and a weight of 4 kg (8.8 lb).

The Adelie Penguin is sexually dimorphic, as males are larger than females on average[1]. It is black and white in plumage, with a black head, white belly, and pink feet. 

They are long-lived animals, with a lifespan of 10-20 years in the wild, though this is not particularly exceptional for penguins.

The Adelie Penguin is found in Antarctica, on the Antarctic continent, and its adjacent islands. It breeds in large colonies, with each colony containing up to several thousand individuals. They nests in rocky crevices or burrows, and lays two eggs per clutch.

2. Emperor Penguin

Emperor Penguin
Scientific NameAptenodytes forsteri
Common NameEmperor Penguin
Animal ClassAves
DietKrill, squids, small fish
Conservation StatusNear threatened

The Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. The male and female are similar in plumage and size, reaching 122 cm (48 in) in height and weighing anywhere from 22 to 45 kg (49 to 99 lb).

The Emporer penguin primarily eats fish. They are skilled swimmers and hunters, but when they can’t catch fish they eat crustaceans (such as krill) and cephalopods (such as squid). 

When hunting, they often work cooperatively in groups of up to several thousand individuals.

The emperor penguin is classified as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Although it is not currently endangered, its population declined by 19% between 1997 and 2009. 

Factors contributing to this decline include inadequate food availability, predation by leopard seals, and disturbance from humans during the breeding season. 

With a population of around 600,000 individuals, emperor penguins are not currently considered endangered, but their population is expected to decline in the future.

3. Albatross

Scientific NameDiomedeidae
Common NameAlbatross
Animal ClassAves
DietSquid and fish
Conservation StatusNot extinct

The albatross is one of the most well-known animals in Antarctica. They are large seabirds with long wingspans and are known for their graceful flying abilities. 

Albatross live for a long time: up to 50 years. And they mate for life[2]. These birds are an important part of Antarctican ecosystems and help keep the population of other animals in check.

The most common species is the Wandering Albatross, which has a wingspan of up to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet). These birds are mostly white, with black wingtips. 

They get their name from their migratory habits. They often travel great distances and are known to circumnavigate the globe.

The albatross is an important member of the Antarctican ecosystem. They help keep populations of other animals in check by preying on them. 

They also play an important role in the dispersal of marine life, by carrying seeds and other materials on their feathers to new areas.

4. Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin
Scientific NamePygoscelis papua
Common NameGentoo Penguin
Animal ClassAves
DietSquids, small crustaeceans, fish
Conservation StatusNear threatened

The Gentoo penguin is a species of penguin found in Antarctica. They are one of the most populous penguin species in the world, with a population of around 10 million. 

Gentoo penguins are black and white with yellow necks and heads. They grow to about 2 feet tall and weigh between 8 and 12 pounds.

Gentoo penguins eat small fish, squid, and krill. They are excellent swimmers and can dive to depths of over 500 feet. 

As social animals, they live in large colonies called rookeries on ice shelves and rocky coasts. They build their nests out of rocks, pebbles, and feathers.

Gentoo penguins mate for life and lay two eggs at a time. The eggs are incubated for about 35 days. They are also very protective of their young and fiercely defend their chicks from predators.

5. Antarctic Orca

Antarctic Orca
Scientific NameOrcinus orca
Common NameAntarctic Orca
Animal ClassMammalia
DietFish, squids, penguins, seals, baleen whales
Conservation StatusEndangered

The Antarctic Orca (Orcinus Orca) is a toothed whale found in the Southern Ocean. It is the largest member of the dolphin family and its diet consists mainly of fish, squid, and penguins.[3]

The Antarctic Orca is a social animal and lives in pods of up to 40 individuals. These pods are often made up of family groups and the animals work together to find food and protect each other.

The main threat to Antarctic Orcas is humans. Hunting them for their meat and blubber was once common, but this is now illegal in many countries. However, they are still at risk of accidentally being caught in fishing nets.

6. Weddell Seal

Weddell Seal
Scientific NameLeptonychotes weddellii
Common NameWeddell Seal
Animal ClassMammalia
DietFish, squid, prawns, octopus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern

The Weddell seal is a true seal found in the Antarctic. The largest population of Weddell seals lives in McMurdo Sound, where there are estimated to be over 200,000 animals.

Weddell seals have a dark chocolate-brown coat with white spots. Adult males reach up to 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long and weigh up to 880 pounds (400 kg). Females are slightly smaller, growing to a maximum length of 9.5 ft (2.9 m) and weight of 660 pounds (300 kg).

Weddell seals are the deepest diving mammal in the world, with some individuals reaching depths of over 600 m (2,000 ft). 

They spend most of their time in the water, only coming onto land to rest or give birth.

7. Blue Whale

Blue Whale
Image Source
Scientific NameBalaenoptera musculus
Common NameBlue Whale
Animal ClassMammalia
DietKrill and small fish
Conservation StatusEndangered

The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal of the baleen whale suborder family. At 98 feet (30 m) in length and 180 tonnes or more in weight, it is the largest known animal to have ever lived.

Long and slender, the blue whale’s body is various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath. 

There are at least three distinct subspecies: 

  • B. m. musculus of the North Atlantic and North Pacific
  • B. m. intermedia of the Southern Ocean
  • B. m. brevicauda (also known as the pygmy blue whale) found in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. 

B. m. indica, found in the Indian Ocean may be another subspecies. 

As with other baleen whales, its diet consists almost exclusively of small crustaceans known as krill.

The blue whale’s call is among the lowest-frequency noises made by any animal. It can communicate over vast distances of up to 1,000 km (620 mi). These vocalizations are important for mating and other social activities.

The blue whale is believed to have a life span of around 80–90 years. The population size was greatly reduced during the 20th century due to intensive hunting but has since begun to recover. 

Although still at risk from illegal hunting and entanglement in fishing gear, it is estimated that there are now around 10,000–25,000 blue whales worldwide.

8. Southern Fur Seal

Southern Fur Seal
Scientific NameArctocephalus gazella
Common NameSouthern Fur Seal
Animal ClassMammalia
DietKrill,small fish, crustaeceans, cephalopods
Conservation StatusLeast Concern

The Southern Fur Seal is one of the many animals that call Antarctica home. These creatures are easily recognizable by their thick fur coats, which help protect them from the cold weather and keep them warm in the water. They are also known for their long, curved claws, which they use to catch prey.

Southern Fur Seals are social creatures that live in large colonies on the Antarctic coastline. They spend most of their time in the water, where they hunt for fish, squid, and other small creatures to eat. 

They are also good swimmers and can dive to depths of over two thousand feet in search of food.

When not hunting or swimming, Southern Fur Seals are seen basking on the rocks or ice near their colonies. They sometimes haul out onto the beach to rest, sleep, and give birth. 

Females give birth to a single pup each year, which they care for until it is old enough to fend for itself.

9. Chinstrap Penguin

Chinstrap Penguin
Scientific NamePygoscelis antarticus
Common NameChinstrap Penguin
Animal ClassAves
DietKrill and small fish
Conservation StatusLeast Concern

The Chinstrap Penguin is a species of penguin that gets its name from the black band under its head, which looks like a strap. They are also sometimes called the Stonecracker penguins because of their loud calls. These penguins are found in the Southern Ocean and around Antarctica. Their scientific name is Pygoscelis antarcticus.

Chinstrap penguins are medium-sized, with adults reaching a height of about 2 feet 3 inches (70 cm) and weighing around 9-13 pounds (4-6 kg). 

They have black upperparts, white underparts, and a black band extending from behind their eyes to the lower side of their head. Their bill is orange-red and they have pinkish webbed feet.

This black band gives the appearance of a strap holding their head up.

Chinstrap penguins are social animals, living in large colonies of up to several thousand individuals. They are aggressive towards other penguin species and sometimes fight with members of their own species. 

Their diet consists mainly of krill, squid, and small fish.

10. Snow Petrel

Snow Petrel
Scientific NamePagodroma nivea
Common NameSnow Petrel
Animal ClassAves
DietFish, cephalopods, molluscs
Conservation StatusLeast Concern

The Snow Petrel is a small white bird found in Antarctica. It is the only member of its family that breeds on the continent and is one of the most southerly breeding birds in the world. The Snow Petrel is sexually dimorphic, with the males being larger than the females.

The Snow Petrel is a pelagic species, meaning that it spends most of its time at sea. It only comes ashore to breed, and even then only visits land for a few months of the year. 

It is adapted to live in the cold Antarctic environment, with feathers that insulate it from the cold and webbed feet that help it move around on the ice.

The Snow Petrel is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction, but climate change could pose a threat to its future. 

As the Antarctic ice melts, the Snow Petrel will lose its breeding and feeding grounds, and could eventually disappear from the continent altogether.

11. Commersons Dolphin

Commersons Dolphin
Image Source
Scientific NameCephalorynchus commersonii
Common NameCommersons Dolphin
Animal ClassMammalia
DietKrill, squids, cuttlefish, shrimps, small fish
Conservation StatusData deficient

The Commerson’s dolphin is a small cetacean belonging to the dolphin family. It is one of the most widespread dolphins in the world, found in temperate and subpolar waters of all the world’s oceans.

The Commerson’s dolphin is a small cetacean, with adults reaching lengths of 6.5–8.2 feet (2–2.5 meters) and weights of up to 330 pounds (150 kg). 

Their bodies are stocky and robust, with a short snout and a distinctively two-tone coloration: 

  • The upper half is dark grey or black.
  • The lower half is white or pink.

Calves are born with a brown or grey coat which lightens as they mature.

They are highly social creatures, living in groups of up to 30 individuals. These groups often associate with other dolphins, such as the bottlenose dolphin.

Masters of acrobatics, they often take part in the following: 

  • Breaching (leaping out of the water)
  • Bow-riding (riding the waves created by moving vessels)
  • Swimming on their backs

The diet of the Commerson’s dolphin consists primarily of fish and squid, which they hunt using a combination of echolocation and vision. They are also known to eat crustaceans and marine mammals such as penguins.


The most common animals in Antarctica include different species of penguins, seals, whales, and some birds. They are all hardy animals, as they need to survive in extremely cold temperatures.


Are There Any Animals in Antarctica?

Yes, there are animals in Antarctica. From penguins to seals to whales, there is a wide variety of wildlife that can be found in Antarctica.

What Kinds of Animals Live in Antarctica?

There are many different kinds of animals that live in Antarctica. Some of the most common animals include penguins, seals, and whales. There are also many other types of animals that call this continent home.

What Is the Largest Animal in Antarctica?

The largest animal in Antarctica is the blue whale. These massive creatures reach more than 100 feet long and weigh upwards of 200 tons.

What Land Animals Live in Antarctica?

There are no fully-terrestrial animals in Antarctica, meaning all of the animals either fully or partly live in the sea. This includes animals such as seals and penguins that frequently dive into the ocean.

About Misfit Animals Staff

The Misfit Animals staff consists of animal lovers, pet enthusiasts, veterinarians, zoologists, and other animal experts. Our goal is to provide people with information on proper animal care.

Looking for something?

Try searching our website!