Fun Facts About the Antarctic Continent: The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to unique places in the world, one thing’s for sure – there’s nowhere more fascinating than Antarctica! This continent might be considered on the edge of the world, but it’s worth the effort to get there. From dramatic, epic icebergs to adorable penguins, you can discover wildlife and landscapes here that are unlike anywhere else. If you’re interested in learning more about the South Pole and its inhabitants, you’ve come to the right place – here’s our ultimate guide to interesting and fun facts about the Antarctic continent!

We Love These Fun Facts About the Antarctic Continent and its Wildlife

Impress your friends with these bits of knowledge that are fun, educational, and sometimes downright strange! Because the Antarctic ecosystem and environment is so different than the rest of the world, you might not be familiar with some of the more unusual inhabitants of the continent, from animals who call it home to early historic who sacrificed everything to explore the area.

A Penguin’s Black and White Tuxedo Look Isn’t Just for Fashion!

We all love the adorable look of a penguin – they look like they’re dressed for a black tie dinner! However, a penguin’s stylish looks actually have a very important role – camofluage!

When swimming, their black backs help them blend in with the ocean, protecting them from predators flying above them. And, with white bellies, any predator looking up from under the water might mistake them for part of the ocean, blending in with the horizon line.

It’s not easy being a penguin, with natural predators in both the sky and the water, so their black and white look helps keep them safe.

If you just can’t get enough of cuddly penguins, you’ll love these 15 fun facts about penguins!

A family of penguins sheltering a baby penguin.
A penguin’s beautiful colourings play an important role in keeping them safe.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Was Founded by Antarctic Explorer Sir Robert Falcon Scott’s Son

If you’ve ever supported a wildlife charity, you’re probably familiar with the great work done by the WWF. But did you know it was founded by Peter Scott, the son of famous explorer Sir Robert Falcon Scott?

Scott was the second person to reach the South Pole, in 1912, but he tragically died shortly after, he and his party succumbing to the harsh Antarctic elements. However, Scott was a fantastic record-keeper, so thanks to his diaries, we know lots of valuable information about his last expedition.

The story of Sir Robert Falcon Scott is equal parts inspiring, exciting, and tragic.

Did You Know That Antarctic Whales Can Mimic Human Speech?

It’s true! There have been many examples recorded over the years of whales replicating the sounds of humans. A female orca whale in France learned how to say words like ‘hello’, ‘one, two’, and ‘bye’.

We do know that all whale species are incredibly smart, displaying high levels of intelligence, both socially and emotionally, so it’s no surprise that whales have learned a few words!

Finding out that they can learn to mimic human speech is just one of our favourite fun facts about whales.

Icebergs and whale in antarctica
Seeing a whale breach the icy waters of Antarctic is one of the many highlights of most expeditions.

Famed Antarctic Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton Never Actually Reached the South Pole

Shackleton is a famous Antarctic explorer of the Heroic Age, perhaps best known for the hardships he and his crew experienced when their ship, The Endurance, became trapped in pack ice before sinking in 1915.

Luckily, Shackleton and his crew survived, but he never did make it all the way to the South Pole. However, one of his descendants did! Navy Commander Scott Shackleton, a distant relative, proudly set foot on the South Pole in 2010.

Find out more about the fascinating life of Shackleton.

The Largest Iceberg Ever Recorded Was in Antarctica

Icebergs can come in many shapes and colours, but none of them can hold a candle to B15! This rather undescriptive title is the name of an iceberg that broke off of the Ross Sea Ice Shelf in 2000.

It boasted a surface area of 11,000 square kilometres, 295km in length and 37km in width. Pieces of B15 were later even found off the New Zealand coast.

While it’s possible that there are other larger icebergs floating around out there, B15 is the largest that’s been officially recorded.

Learn more about B15 and other fun iceberg facts here.

Icebergs in Antarctica
It’s seriously amazing how big an iceberg can be!

Seals Can Sleep Underwater

Hard to imagine for us humans, but if you were a seal, one of your favourite places to catch some shut eye would be underwater! They’ll often do this just below the surface, so their bodies are submerged but just their nostrils are above the water, allowing them to breathe. This sleeping position is known as bottling.

However, seals can definitely hold their breath for a lot longer than we can! Elephant seals, for example, are sometimes known to hold their breath for up to two hours, giving them more time to travel underwater or hunt for food.

Did you know that March 22 is International Seal Day?

How Did Elephant Seals Get Their Name?

This is one fun bit of Antarctic trivia that’s not a trick question! Elephant seals get their name because, well, they look like elephants!

The male members of this large seal species has a long snout, or trunk, that’s not unlike that of an elephant, albeit not as long. They can fill their trunk with air to make a very loud sound that bellows through the air – great for impressing the females or exerting his dominance over other males.

Elephant seals are truly unlike any other Antarctic animal!

Two elephant seals enjoying some sunshine.

There Are Active Volcanoes in Antarctica

You probably imagine Antarctica is be a cold, icy destination (which it is!), but it’s also home to two active volcanoes! However, there are plenty more that are considered to be inactive.

Mount Erebus is the highest active volcano in Antarctica, with an elevation of 3,794 m. You can often see it on a sightseeing flight to Antarctica!

Take a deep dive into the world of the great white continent with these interesting facts about Antarctica.

Thinking About Visiting Antarctica One Day?

If all of these fun facts have peaked your interest about visiting Antarctica for yourself, there’s never been a better time than now!

Chimu Adventures are true Antarctic specialists, with a range of Antarctic expedition cruises to suit every interest and budget. And if you join us, we’re pretty sure that our experienced and passionate crew would be more than happy to share some more exciting facts about Antarctica with you!

Author: Katie Dundas

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