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Tundra: Animals

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11212

Although the climate is colder than cold, there are animals in the tundra! You'll recognize some, like penguins, and maybe see one you don't, like pipits! Watch (and draw) them frolic in snow!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The tundra has extremely harsh temperatures and gets very little rainfall, yet it is still home to many different animals. In this lesson, you will learn about the animals that live in the arctic, Antarctic, and alpine tundras. You will learn how these animals survive in such harsh conditions.

You have learned so much about the tundra so far!

Let's do a quick review:

  • The tundra is found mostly in the northern hemisphere, but can also be found in Antarctica in the southern hemisphere.
  • The tundra has very cold temperatures and gets very little rainfall (less than 20 inches per year).
  • There are three types of tundra: arctic tundra, Antarctic tundra, and alpine tundra.
  • Arctic tundra has permafrost and is colder than alpine tundra.
  • Antarctic tundra is very cold and cannot support most plant life because its soil is frozen solid.
  • Alpine tundra is located all around the world on the tops of mountains.
  • Trees cannot survive in the tundra.
  • Most of the plants found in the tundra are small and grow close to the ground.

(If you need more of a review, go back over the Related Lessons in this Tundra series, found in the right-hand sidebar.)

Fantastic! Now you're ready to go!

The tundra is home to many different animals. Read on to learn about the animals found in the arctic, Antarctic, and alpine tundras.

The arctic tundra is home to several different types of animals. Most of the animals in the arctic tundra don't live there year-round. They often migrate to other places when the temperatures drop below freezing during the winter. Snowy owls, brown bears, lemmings, arctic wolves, and musk oxen can be found in the arctic tundra.

Most of these animals have thick coats to keep them warm in the cold temperatures. Did you know musk oxen have two layers of fur? The first layer is short fur that is close to its body. This layer traps the body heat of the animal. The second layer is the long fur seen on the outside of its body that protects the musk ox from water and wind. It acts as a winter coat to keep the cold out!

The Antarctic tundra doesn't have nearly as many animals as the other types of tundra. This tundra is more isolated than all the others, so most of the animals come from the ocean and islands around Antarctica. Penguins and seals may be found on the shorelines in this tundra.

The alpine tundra is another biome in which animals need special characteristics to survive. Animals that live in the alpine tundra usually have multiple coats of fur. Hibernation is also common among these animals — they sleep through the winter months to avoid the frigid temperatures. Some examples of animals found in the alpine tundra are: badgers, deer mice, golden-mantled ground squirrels, mountain lions, red foxes, common ravens, water pipits, bighorn sheep, and bobcats.

The animals listed above are just some of the many animals that live in the tundra.

Move on to the Got It? section of the lesson to learn about more animals that are found in the tundra.

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