Why Are There No Arctic
not produce their own heat, but instead rely on heat sources in the environment.
In frigid settings, "cold-blooded" animals like snakes and frogs simply
never warm up. No reptile has evolved to survive the rigours of Arctic climate
but that is not to say that it is impossible! In fact, it is likely that
at least a few reptile contemporaries of the dinosaurs managed to survive through
conditions similar to that of the present day Arctic.
There is one snake, the common garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis, whose
distribution extends as far north as the southern border of tundra. This animal
has an incredible ability to withstand low temperatures. It can tolerate temperatures
of -5°C without freezing. When temperatures drop lower than this, it can survive
with up to 40% of its body fluids turned to ice!
Although there are no true Arctic reptiles, there are many other kinds of animals
that do inhabit the "top of the world", including a bat, bumblebees,
and birds like the snowy owl. The waters are home to crustaceans, starfishes,
anemones, jellyfishes, and a wide range of fishes. Many of these life forms are
strikingly beautiful, unique, and often bizarre! An exploration of Canada's Polar
Life is sure to reveal some surprises.