Animals of the Antarctic Seas

   Antarctica is the coldest continent on the Earth. The seas around it are filled with ice. The land is covered with ice and snow that never melt.
   As cold as Antarctica is, animals live on and around it. They have special ways for living where it is very cold. Antarctica is another kind of environment.
   In summer the blue whale is at home in the icy waters of Antarctica. It is the largest mammal ever to live.
   Blue whales feed on sea animals the size of grasshoppers. The little sea animals feed on tiny plants.
   Billions of tiny plants and animals drift toward Antarctica every summer. The blue whale follows its food supply to the icy waters. Its body has a thick layer of fat that keeps it warm
   The whale lives only in water. It is completely helpless on land, yet it is not a fish. It must come to the surface to breathe. It breathes air with lungs.
   All whales are mammals. The female gives birth to a calf. The calf gets milk from the mother, which takes care of it until it is grown.
   Antarctic seals spend most of their time in water. Sometimes, however, they leave the water. They lie on the ice or rocks.
   Like the whale, the seal has a thick layer of fat. The fat keeps it warm. Its body is covered with fur.
   Baby seals are called pups. The pups are born alive. The mother feeds them milk. Adult seals eat fishes.
Seals and whales are the only mammals that live in the icy waters near the South Pole.
   There is only one other kind of vertebrate in those icy waters. Strangely enough, it is a bird.
   Emperor penguins are the largest penguins in the world. Some are more than 3 feet tall. They are found only in Antarctica.
   The emperor penguin spends most of its time in the icy water. It swims, dives, and catches fishes. Its body is just right for the life it leads. It has a thick layer of fat to keep it warm. It is covered with thick, oily feathers.
   Once a year, the female lays one egg. The parents take turns keeping the egg warm till it hatches. Then they feed fishes to the penguin chick.
   When the parents are out fishing, the chicks huddle together. They keep each other warm. Other penguins, like baby sitters, watch over the chicks