1. Walrus: All about the blubber
The walrus dwells on both land and sea and is comfortable with the cold thanks to its substantial layer of blubber. The old tooth-walking sea horse—the literal translation of its scientific name ‘Odobenus rosmarus’—has a layer about half a foot thick, which can comprise up to a third of its body mass in winter.
2. Emperor Penguins: Insulation and cold air convection
Penguins are warm-blooded, but they do fine in the Antarctic thanks to a hefty layer of subcutaneous fat giving them energy and keeping their body heat contained.
Moreover, a study published earlier this year in Biology Letters reported that in emperor penguins, surfaces of the body were actually colder than the surrounding air, meaning its plumage would gain heat by convection.
3. Caribou: Lichen those sub-zero temps
When winter comes, the caribou ditches its light, warm-weather fur for an incredibly effective specialized winter coat and turn to lichen for food.
4. Musk Ox: They survived an ice age, no big deal
Winter? Please. These seasoned veterans of the cold lived through the last ice age. Today they keep warm with an overcoat and qivuit (a thick undercoat eight times warmer than sheep’s wool) and by huddling together in groups.
5. Snowy owls: Hedwig’s fine, but she didn’t live in the Arctic
The only owl able to survive and thrive in the Arctic’s harsh conditions, snowy owls live on the tundra, hunting during the day and night and eating lots of lemmings.
6. Snowshoe Hare: One blink and you’ll miss it
The Snowshoe hare gets its name from its larger, padded hind feet that allow it bound across the snow without falling through. While hares are larger than rabbits, the Snoeshow hare still must evade predators; it’s able to travel at over 27 miles per hour and camouflage itself with its fur color, which changes with the seasons.
7. Japanese macaques: Borrowing your hot tub since 1963
The Japanese macaque, commonly called the Snow Monkey, can survive harsh winter temperatures below 5° F, but they’re most known for their learned behavior of chilling in man-made hot springs, which they began doing in Jigokudani in 1963.
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