Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

Science

Adaptations

Cold climates

The Arctic is cold and windy with very little rainfall. Plants in the Arctic often grow very close to the ground and have small leaves. This helps to conserve water and to avoid damage by the wind.

The polar bear

The polar bear is adapted to life in a cold climate

Polar bears are well adapted for survival in the Arctic. Their adaptations include:

  • a white appearance as camouflage from prey on the snow and ice
  • thick layers of fat and fur for insulation against the cold
  • a small surface area to volume ratio, to minimise heat loss
  • a greasy coat that sheds water after swimming
  • large furry feet to distribute their load and increase grip on the ice.

Watch polar bear videos on BBC Nature and discover how well polar bears and their cubs are adapted to the extreme environment they live in.

The snowshoe hare

The snowshoe hare has white fur in the winter and reddish-brown fur in the summer. This means that it is camouflaged from its predators for most of the year.

Back to Interdependence and adaptation index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.