A Quick-Look at some animals that live in Antarctica - Including the charismatic megafauna of penguins, whales seals and albatrosses along with other seabirds and invertebrates such as krill which form the basis of many Antarctic food chains.

The majority of animals found in the south polar region are just there for the summer, leaving before the really hard winter weather starts.

Antarctic Animals - Quick-Look
An illustrated overview - more quick looks

A brief introduction to a range of animals that live in Antarctica. 14 images with simple captions and links to the larger picture page as a slide-show. Antarctic animals in more detail

Slide Pack - Start slideshow here

Adelie penguin 1 - Emperor penguins are the largest of all penguins, they live in the coldest places all winter, no other animal on earth lives in such harsh cold conditions.


Adelie penguin 2 - King penguins are the second largest penguins, they live on islands at the northern edge of Antarctica.

Adelie penguin3 - Adelie penguins are small and tough, they can walk 100km across sea-ice to reach their nesting areas.

Killer whale and calf, spyhopping 4 - Orcas or killer whales are found in both the Antarctic and Arctic, they are mammals and breathe air.

blue whale5 - Blue whales visit Antarctica in the summer, they are the largest animals to have ever lived, bigger than any dinosaur.

Weddell Seal, mother and pup 6 - Weddell seals live in the seas around Antarctica, they have their pups on the sea-ice in late winter.

Southern Elephant seal 7 - Southern fur seals were almost all killed off in the 1700 and 1800's for their fur, they have recovered in the last 100 years and there are now several million of these animals in Antarctica.

Leopard seal 8 - Leopard seals are a major predator in Antarctica, they are bigger than most seals and solitary.

krill in Antarctica9 - Krill are small shrimp-like animals that live in giant swarms in the sea where they feed on tiny plants, krill are the food for a great many other Antarctic animals.

Wandering albatross10 - Wandering albatrosses have the largest wingspan of any bird at up to 3.5m (over 11 feet), they rarely flap their wings but can cover 950 km per day at an average speed of 40 kmh for days or weeks on end.

Snow petrels on sea ice 11 - Snow petrels are pure white birds the size of a small dove, they sit out the coldest weather with just their own feathers for warmth.

Antarctic or South Polar Skua12 - Antarctic skuas are large birds with a lot of personality. They are thieves, scavengers or predators according to opportunity.

Arctic tern13 - Arctic terns fly from one pole to the other and back again every year spending the summer in each, they see more daylight than any other animal on earth.

14 - Antarctic land animals, the harsh conditions mean that the largest purely land animal is just 13mm long.

Picture credits: 2 - Mike Usher / 5 - NOAA / 6 - Liam Quinn from Canada, under creative commons, attribution 2.0 share-alike licence. / 8 - Gilad from from Israel, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.