(Above picture of the march of the penguins)There are no polar bears in Antarctica, they are only found in the Arctic region while penguins do not inhabit the Arctic but several different breeds of this species are indigenous inhabitants of the Antarctic which is also a major breeding ground for them.
Penguins are also found as far north as the Galapagos Islands, straddling the Equator.Early Antarctic explorers actually thought penguins were fish and classified them accordingly.
In fact, as birds, they are superbly designed for their job, flying underwater with great skill. Their compact bodies have a breastbone that makes an excellent keel and they have massive paddle muscles to propel them at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Their heads retract to create a perfect hydrodynamic shape. When travelling quickly, penguins will leap clear of the water every few feet -- an action called 'porpoising'. This enables them to breathe, and decreases their chances of being taken by a predator.
Antarctic penguins have also developed the ability to leap out of the water to a substantial height on land, enabling them to quickly reach the safety of raised ice edges or rock ledges.
Penguin legs are set far down and ashore they are often awkward, waddling and hopping over rocks; on snow they sometimes push themselves along on their stomachs.
Penguins feed on fish and they must enter the water to feed. It is there that the Leopard Seal hunt the penguins especially when they are alone.
Going first is very risky in the life of a penguin, because they will be alone if only for a moment. It is in that moment that the Leopard Seal will find his/her dinner.
Because of the risks involved the Penguins function as a team. They jump together because they are much safer being together than they are swimming alone.Just as it is dangerous for the lead penguin to go first it can be equally hazardous for the penguin to go last. Jumping in together is not only about working together it is about surviving.Penguins are true flightless birds. Some species spend as much as 75% of their lives at sea, yet they all breed on land or sea-ice attached to land. To withstand the harsh conditions of the Antarctic, their bodies are insulated by a thick layer of blubber and a dense network of waterproof plumage. Penguins' bones are solid and heavy, which help them to remain submerged and reduce the energy needed for pursuit diving. Some species can reach depths of 1000 feet or more and stay submerged for up to 25 minutes, though most prefer shorter, shallower dives.
Natural enemies of the penguin include seals, killer whales (pictured immediately below), and in the case of young chicks and eggs, several species of seabirds. Healthy adult penguins have no predators on land, so they have no natural fear of humans. While they don't like to be approached directly, these naturally curious birds will sometimes come quite close to a quiet observer to get a better look.
Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins family and one of the world's most powerful predators. They vary in length from 23 to 32 feet and weigh up to 6 tons. orcas feast on marine mammals such as seals and sea lions as well as penguins and even whales (thus the name), employing teeth that can be four inches long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds.
Though they often frequent cold, coastal waters, orcas can be found from the polar regions to the Equator. They hunt in deadly pods, family groups of up to 40 individuals.Antarctic seals are truly fascinating marine animals and a signature species of the Southern Ocean. Below are a pictures of predator seals, the Leopard, and below that the Weddle . These seals can be found throughout the Antarctic region, with some species living farther south than any other mammal.
Another reason is the lack of native predators such as polar bears, which also helps explain why seals in Antarctica show little fear of people.
Of the six types of seals which are found south of the Antarctic Convergence, four of them are considered true Antarctic species: the Weddell, the Ross, the Crabeater and the Leopard. Both the Southern Elephant Seal and the Fur Seal do occasionally venture onto the continent, but prefer the more northerly islands of the warmer sub-Antarctic seas.
Bird life too flourishes here in the frozen Antarctic continent. With the end of the long polar winter comes the arrival of millions of seabirds to breed soon after the arrival of the Adelie penguins who may have walked as much as 50 kilometres across the sea ice to reach their nesting grounds.
They are followed soon after by the petrels and skuas, flying in from the open sea. Of the 35 species of seabirds that live south of the Antarctic Convergence, only 19 species breed on the Antarctic continent itself.
Probably 100 million or more birds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. These include the pelagic or free-ranging species such as the albatrosses and petrels.
Coastal species, by contrast, forage close to the shore, and among them are found skuas, cormorants, terns and sheathbills.
The Antarctic sea birds have evolved to gain features that help conserve body heat--waterproof plumage, a layer of subcutaneous fat, and large, compact bodies.Most famous and largest of these Antarctic birds is the albatrosses. It is known as the "wanderer" as it roams the Southern Ocean. They often follow visiting ships, wheeling and floating hypnotically at a distance for hours at a time. Effortlessly gliding on the wind, they are capable of round trips of thousands of miles over several days.
They swoop low over ocean swells, dipping down when the sea falls and rising when the wave rises. Their up to 11 foot wing span is capable of "locking" into an extended position, thereby reducing strain over long flights. They can live to be 80 - 85 years old and they mate for life. Once they leave the nest they may not return to land again for 7 to 10 years when they return to the island where they were born.
They have a white head, neck and body, a wedge-shaped tail, and a large pink beak. They can weigh up nearly 20 pounds. Plumage varies through its life, from dark brown in the first year to almost fully white in old age.