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What are Boreal ForestsBoreal forests regions are found just south of the Arctic Circle across northern regions of Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia. These forests are vast areas covering approximately twelve million square kilometers (7,456,454 miles). The temperature in these forest range from warm in the summer to extremely cold in the winter when temperatures in the most northern regions can drop to as low as -68C (-90F). The winter season presents the main challenge to survival for the inhabitants of the boreal forest.
Facts about Boreal forest Animal Adaptations
- Mammals have adapted to this extremely cold weather by growing thick fur coats. These animals include the sable, lynx, marten, and many others.
- Many animals that live in this region are much larger than animals they are related to found in other areas. A larger animal is able to conserve heat better than a smaller animal.
- Many boreal forest animals hibernate during the coldest months. During hibernation an animals heart beat slows down and they almost appear to be dead. They prepare for hibernation by eating as much as they can during the warmer months in order to build up fat reserves their bodies will utilize when in hibernation.
- Many inhabitants of the boreal forest, especially birds, completely avoid the freezing winters by migrating south.
- Boreal forest animals must be able to eat and utilize a wide array of foods. This is important because food becomes scarce during the winter. For example caribou, which normally graze on grass, have the ability to digest tough conifer needles and bark when grass is not available.
- Many animals in these regions have long thin legs which enables them to travel through deep snow.
- Animals, such as small rodents, dig burrows to escape the frigid weather and to avoid predators. These burrows are often quite elaborate with many holes to the surface. This enables them to forage for food without having to travel far from a burrow entrance.
- One of the most amazing facts about boreal forest animals adaptations is that of the wood frog. The wood frog lives further north than any other North American amphibian. This creature can actually survive becoming frozen. It will often become frozen for several weeks, with over sixty percent of its body fluids fully frozen, and then thaw out. It might freeze several times during the winter months.
- There are hundreds of bird species found in the boreal forest. Some remain there year round where as others are migratory. Most build their nest near the numerous marshes and bogs found in the boreal biome.
List of a Few Boreal Forest Animals
- Wolf (Gray Wolf, Timber Wolf)
- North American river otter
- Lynx (Canada lynx, Eurasian lynx)
- Woodland Caribou
- Grizzly Bear
- Black Bear (Asiatic black bear, American black bear)
List of a Few Boreal Forest Birds
- Eagle (over a dozen species)
- Hawk (over a dozen species)