The tundra is very cold. The tundra had long winters and short cool summers. About 10 inches of precipitation fall each year. The winds there are very dry. The tundra also has permafrost (ground that is permanently frozen.) The warmest months are usually between 50 and 32F.
Tundra biomes are located near the North Pole, Northern Alaska, Canada, and Siberia.
In the tundra biomes most animals only use the tundra as a summer home, but yet there are animals that stay all year round. Some of the animals that stay year round consists of the musk ox, arctic fox, caribou, Norway lemming, and last but not least polar bears!!!
The Musk Ox
The Musk Ox eats grass, moss, lichen, and leaves. Their body size range from 6 to 7 feet, and their tail is 3 to 4 inches long. Musk Oxes are not threatened. The scientific name for a Musk Ox is Ovibos moschatus. They are the only species in its genus. Musk Oxes have a dense under coat, long hair, and broad hooves to protect then from the cold snow. They travel in groups of as many as 100.
The scientific name for an Arctic Fox is Alopex lagopus. Arctic Foxes have a diet of birds, rodents, and sometimes left overs from a polar bear kill. Their bodies are 18-26 inches long and their tail is about 13 inches long. Arctic Foxes range from Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. They have small feet that are furred to protect it from snow and ice and have rounded ears. When it comes time to sleep they usually make burrows in the side of a hill or a cliff, and get this, they don't hibernate! Females usually give birth to 4-11 young in May or June after a period of 54 days.
The Norway Lemming eat grass. Their bodies are 5 to 6 inches long and their tails are about 3/4 inches long. Lemmus lemmus is the scientific name for the Norway Lemming. Lemmings are active day and night, which mean they get very little sleep. During the summer the female Lemming may have up to 8 litters of 6 young! Here's and interesting fact: it is to be believed that every three or four years lemmings decrease in their population to almost extinction and the next year they increase in population to where they are not endangered.
Caribou eat lichen. They are about 4 to 7 feet long with their tails being only 4 to 8 inches! They are not threatened. The scientific name for caribou is Rangifer tarandus. Caribou range in different colors to almost black, brown, gray, and almost white. Caribou are the only deers where both the male and female have antlers. Female caribou usually give birth to one or two young after a duration on 240 days.
Plants only grow for a short amount of time in the tundra. But when plants do grow there are a great variety if plants that grow.
The tundra is a very sensitive biome. People are mining for oil, are building new towns, and roads. This is effecting the migration patterns and the permafrost. There are insects that come and us humans spray pesticides and are effecting the food chain.
Global warming is damaging the tundra. Air pollution is contaminating the lichen which is what most animals eat there. Oil spills are also damaging the tundra.
Did you know the tundra biome makes up 1/5 of the Earth? In the tundra there are mountains. There are also lakes in the tundra.