What lives at the South Pole? Do penguins really live there?

69 views | 11:22am on Saturday 13th February 2021

Situated on Antarctica - the world’s coldest continent, do you think what animals and plants can live there? Check out this article “What lives at the South Pole? Do penguins really live there?” right away, and then you will learn a lot of surprising facts about the ecosystem there.

what lives at the south pole

The South Pole’s location

The South Pole lies inland, nearly right at the center of Antarctica that is the coldest, windiest, and driest place in the world. It’s no doubt that the weather at the South Pole is exceptionally harsh that most living things are so hard to exist and survive. 

So, does that means that nothing lives there? Not really! So, what lives at the South Pole? Keep reading on to learn about extraordinary organisms existing at the southernmost point on the Earth’s surface. Also, if you are curious about whether the penguins really live there, well, below here is the answer that you are looking for! 

But first, it’s good to check out some facts about the weather conditions at the South Pole to know how bitterly cold it is, right?

How harshly cold is the South Pole?

Generally speaking, the weather and climate in Antarctica are severe but its coastal areas are much warmer than the inland. There is always a quite big difference in the temperatures between Antarctica’s inland and coastal regions. 

what lives at the south pole

What is the weather and climate in Antarctica?

The temperature can go up to 10°C in summers and drop to below −40°C in winters near the coast. Meanwhile, it can rise to about −30°C in summers and drop to below −80°C in winters over elevated inland.

With the location in the middle of the Antarctica continent, the weather at the South Pole is so cold. Actually, the South Pole is pretty close to the coldest place on the planet, the Russian Vostok Research Station, where the coldest temperature, −89.2°C (−128.6°F), was recorded in 1983. 

The coldest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole was −82.8°C (−117.0°C) that is not much higher than the world’s lowest temperature of −89.2°C (−128.6°F). And the warmest temperature recorded at the South Pole was also a freezing −12.3°C (9.9°F). The average temperature is just -49.3°C (-56°F) annually.

what lives at the south pole

The South Pole is much colder than Antarctica’s coastal areas

As you can see, the weather in the South Pole is extremely severe, making most living things so hard to exist and survive there. Unlike the abundance of animal life in Antarctica’s coastal areas, it’s hard to find animals and plants living at the South Pole. But it doesn’t mean that nothing can live here. There’s still fauna and flora that can be found at the South Pole. Keep scrolling down to know what lives at the South Pole!

See also: What is the weather and climate in Antarctica?

What lives at the South Pole?

While there’s abundant animal life at the coast of Antarctica, featuring a bunch of different species such as emperor penguins, whales, seals, krill, and more, the South Pole’s fauna is far less diverse. In other words, animal and plant life here is too limited. 

what lives at the south pole

What lives at the South Pole: Penguins live in Antarctica but not at the South Pole

The habitat there is too harsh for most organisms to exist and survive. There are no native animals and plants at the South Pole. It’s not true that penguins live at the South Pole. This is a very common misconception. Keep reading on to know why!

Animals: Why it’s said that no penguins are living at the South Pole?

According to coolantarctica.com, Antarctica is home to different penguin species, including Emperor penguin, King penguin, Adelie penguin, Chinstrap penguin, and Gentoo penguin. 

But, in fact, penguins are just plentiful along the Antarctic coasts, especially the Antarctic Peninsula and the Ross Sea. Penguins are considered coastal animals, not land dwellers. That’s why no penguins can be found at the South Pole despite what you may see in cartoons or other popular media. 

what lives at the south pole

What lives at the South Pole: Skuas can be occasionally seen at the South Pole

Back to the animal life at the world’s southernmost point, well, though this place itself has no native animal life at all, sometimes, seabirds like skuas and snow petrels can be seen there if they’re blown off-course. 

Plants

Since the South Pole sits in the center of Antarctica, the largest, driest, windiest, and of course, the coldest desert on Earth, yep, the plant life there is almost nonexistent. 

Though more temperate parts of this desert support native flora like moss and lichen as well as organisms like midges and mites, there are no native resident plants at the South Pole. 

Microorganisms

When it comes to, well, what lives at the South Pole, it’s gonna a big mistake if we don’t mention microorganisms found here. 

Researchers also have found active bacteria buried deeply in the snow at the South Pole. Well, you know that the South Pole presents some of the world’s most difficult conditions for life with high radiation, long season darkness, snow salinity, and extreme cold. Despite these circumstances, these bacteria were still able to grow and reproduce. That fact was really surprising, even to the scientific community. 

what lives at the south pole

The South Pole itself has no native animal life at all

Roundup

As you can see, there are almost no native animals and plants living in the South Pole due to its exceptionally harsh weather. This place features some of the planet’s most difficult conditions for life that can’t be home to any fauna and flora species. However, there have been active microorganisms found in the southernmost point of Earth. What a surprise! And well, that’s it for today’s article “What lives at the South Pole? Do penguins really live there?.” Hope you enjoyed it!

  • See also: Where is the driest place in the world?

Sources: 

nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/south-pole/

antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/weather-and-climate/weather/

traveltips.usatoday.com/kind-animals-found-south-pole-63624.html

nationalgeographic.com/animals/reference/arctic-antarctica-wildlife-myths-explained/

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