Image: Antarctic habitats
Many animals live in and visit Antarctica and the islands around it. Antarctic habitats include pack ice, mountains and the surrounding seas.
- Andrew Howells
- © Australian Museum
Pack ice is often seen as huge floating pieces. It forms in the winter months when it becomes so cold that the sea surrounding Antarctica freezes.
Mountains and rocky areas
The mountains in Antarctica are often entirely covered by an ice sheet which can be up to 4 km thick. Only the highest Antarctic mountains are seen through the top of this ice-cap. This ice covers 98% of Antarctica leaving only a few bare rocky areas.
In the sub-Antarctic region there are lots of small islands. Some of these islands like Australia's Heard Island are almost completely capped by glaciers. Others, such as Macquarie Island, are ice-free and have no permanent snow cover.
The seas around Antarctica are full of life. Whales, seals and krill, and birds such as penguins and albatross all live in or rely on these waters.