If you paid attention in school, you most likely know some of the animals that live in the Arctic. There are birds, seals, and of course, polar bears. But what about hairy crabs, horned whales, and creepy crawly bugs that also call the Arctic Circle home?
And then there are the critters that inhabit Antarctica. It may be on the other side of the world, but it also features extreme climate conditions and some crazy animals.
Just like wild creatures found in Florida or any other region, Antarctic and Arctic species are pretty varied. While some animals may also have relatives in other parts of the world, polar animals have adapted many physical abilities that allow them to thrive in their extreme environments. From being able to control their own heartbeats and metabolism to creating a body fluid that acts like antifreeze, scary animals in the Arctic and Antarctic are also pretty amazing.
So what weird and creepy animals of the Arctic and Antarctic have you possibly missed learning about? You'll have to read on to find out.
This crazy looking marine creature could only survive in two places: your worst nightmare and the Antarctic Ocean. Luckily it's confined to the ocean for now. It also goes by the descriptive title of "bristle worm."
The worm's fringe might seem bizarre, but its bristles help the creature crawl along the ocean floor, swim, and sometimes even defend itself against predators. Because it has sharp teeth, researchers believe the worm is a carnivore, and that it can possibly extend its jaws to catch its prey. To make things even weirder, the part that looks like its head is actually its throat.
Ice worms are related to leeches and earthworms, and these creepy crawlers are well adapted to life in the cold. They are able to regulate their body temperature so their insides don't freeze. They burrow deep into the surfaces of glaciers and tend to hide there during the day, since they run the risk of dying in warmer temperatures.
If you've ever tried walking on ice, you know it's quite easy to slip. Ice worms, however, transport themselves across and through glaciers by using small bristles on the outside of their bodies to grip the ice and give themselves some traction. And they're pretty good at it too, traveling up to 10 feet per hour across icy surfaces.
Snailfish are named for their loose, gelatinous skin that takes the place of scales. At the bottom of their tadpole-shaped bodies are giant suckers, which they use to attach themselves to rocks or other objects on the ocean floor. There are about 335 species worldwide, 20 of which make their home in Arctic waters.
They may be somewhat comical, but they have a unique ability: they can live in the deepest parts of the sea, including the Mariana Trench.
Icefish are literally some of the coldest-blooded creatures you'll find in the ocean. They'd have to be, if they wanted to survive in the Arctic. Icefish have developed several special features that allow them to thrive in icy waters. Their body temperature is able to adapt to the temperature of the water, and remains very cold. In fact, if they were to encounter higher temperature waters, they would actually die.
Icefish also create glycoproteins, which act as a sort of antifreeze to keep ice crystals from forming on their bodies. But the most unusual thing about these fish is that they lack hemoglobin. The blood of an icefish is white in color, and that, combined with their transparent bodies, allows them to camouflage themselves.