Tundra Biomes

The dotted circle shows the boundary of the Arctic Circle. Notice all of the countries that have land within the Arctic Circle.

The dotted circle shows the boundary of the Arctic Circle. Notice all of the countries that have land within the Arctic Circle.

    The tundra is the coldest biome on Earth. Biomes are areas on Earth with similar climates, animals, and plants.

Mosses and lichen are able to grow in the tundra. Not many plants can survive in the tundra because it is cold with very little sunlight.

Mosses and lichen are able to grow in the tundra. Not many plants can survive in the tundra because it is cold with very little sunlight.

    The tundra is located in the Arctic Circle. This is an area around the top of the Earth. Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Russie all have land inside the Arctic Circle.

    The cold environment makes it difficult for plants to grow, but some plants have adapted to life in the tundra. Mosses, lichen, and small shrubs grow close to the ground and in tight groups to stay protected against the cold winds of the tundra. There are no trees in the tundra.

    Animals have adapted to survive in the tundra as well. Wolves, squirrels, and bears have thick fur coats as protection from the cold. Many animals, such as bears, also hibernate (or sleep) through the coldest parts of the year. Polar bears have a thick layer of fat called blubber. This fat keeps the polar bears warm when they are swimming in the freezing ocean or walking along the snow and ice.

This snowy owl has adapted to live in the tundra. It has white feathers because white blends in with the snow.

This snowy owl has adapted to live in the tundra. It has white feathers because white blends in with the snow.

    In the summer, the snow melts to form small pools of water. Insects live around the water. Birds migrate to the tundra for the summer to eat the many insects. When it gets cold, the insects die off and the birds fly south for the winter.

These wolf pups will grow up in the tundra.

These wolf pups will grow up in the tundra.

    An important part of the tundra is permafrost. It is a layer of soil that is permanently frozen solid. Even in the summer, it stays frozen.

    The summer is very short in the tundra, but during summer the days are 24 hours long. That means the sun is always out. During the winter, it is dark most of time.

These polar bears and playing in the snow on the tundra.

These polar bears and playing in the snow on the tundra.


    The tundra is a difficult place to live, but plants, animals, and people have made it their home.