Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beautiful Snow Animals

Least weasel lives wherever it can make a den to raise its young and store its food. The den is in a pile of rocks or loose earth. When lemmings are plentiful, so are weasels. Although they depend mostly on lemmings for food, they are not afraid to attack an Arctic hare. The adult male is about 30 cm. ( 12 in.) long including the tail. The female is smaller. This animal is slim so it can go into lemmings’ tunnels. The winter coats are white, and summer coats are brown. Ermine are fast, very brave and always hungry. When the ermine kills an animal it takes the food home. The weasel can be found almost anywhere in Canada (the coast, the mountains, the prairies and the far north). The weasel will move into a den of an animal that it has killed.

The Arctic hare is the largest hare in North America. Its fur is grayish brown in the summer. It has short ears with black tips. In the winter it has white fur, except for the black tips on its ears. Its white fur helps camouflage it from predators in the winter. In the northernmost parts of its range, it is always white. The Arctic hare has long claws, especially on its hind legs. It uses the claws to dig in packed snow. They can hop on their hind legs like kangaroos at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour. The Arctic hare also has incisors that are longer and straighter than most hares. It uses them to pull plants out from rocky crevices.

Polar bears have a thick oily fur coat and a layer of blubber under their skin. They spend most of their time on the pack ice or in the water, where they can hunt their favorite food – the ringed seal. The white fur helps the bear sneak up on seals that are laying on the ice. In the summer it is harder to catch seals, so before summer arrives, the bears eat as much as they can to fatten up, then live off the fat in their bodies. The females digs a den in the snow to hibernate during the worst part of the winter. The cubs are born in the den. The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world’s largest carnivore species found on land.

The Harp Seal is a marine mammal that spends most of its life in the sea, but also goes onto ice floes. It is a pinniped that lives along shorelines in the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, ranging from Russia to Greenland to Canada. The Harp Seal has short, thick white fur with black patches and a black face. The young are all white. These seals grow to be up to 5.5 feet (1.7 m) long and can weigh up to 285 pounds (130 kg); females are a bit smaller. The whiskers contribute to the seal’s sense of touch. The nostrils are closed in the resting state. Harp Seals are carnivores. They eat mostly fish and crustaceans. Seals don’t chew their food; they swallow it in large chunks. They can crush the shells of crustaceans with their flat back teeth. Harp seals are hunted by killer whales, polar bears, and people.

Deer Rangifer tarandus of Arctic and subarctic regions, common to North America and Eurasia. About 1.2 m/4 ft at the shoulder, it has a thick, brownish coat and broad hooves well adapted to travel over snow. It is the only deer in which both sexes have antlers; these can grow to 1.5 m/5 ft long, and are shed in winter. The Old World reindeer have been domesticated by the Lapps of Scandinavia for centuries. There are two types of North American caribou: the large woodland caribou of the more southerly regions, and the barren-ground caribou of the far north. Reindeer migrate south in winter, moving in large herds. They eat grass, small plants, and lichens.

1 comment:

  1. I love the photos! Just to be a pain, however, the image you have labeled as a least weasel (Mustela nivalis) is actually an ermine (Mustela erminea). The black tipped tail is the key for ID on these two similar weasels.


Related Posts with Thumbnails