Arctic Wildlife Guide

Discover amazing wildlife across the vast and endless white lands of the Arctic 

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Scenic Eclipse Arctic wildlife guide

The endless white of the Arctic, stretches of vast tundra and icy plains that reach far beyond the horizon. For many, this sparse and seemingly empty landscape can seem devoid of any wildlife.

However, for those who spend any time in the region, the northern-most point on planet Earth soon reveals its wide and varied range of inhabitants.

From sea-dwelling Beluga whales and Narwhals, to Arctic foxes and the majestic polar bear, the Arctic is the perfect backdrop for wildlife photographers. Unlike anywhere else in the world, the Arctic is a vibrant place full of exciting wildlife just waiting to be discovered – here’s our Arctic wildlife guide, and what to expect.

Our Arctic cruises set sail to Iceland, Greenland and all across the Arctic circle. Find your perfect Arctic adventure.

Creatures of the land - the elusive Caribou and Arctic fox

On land, you’ll notice that the many species of the Arctic are well-suited to their environment. With warm coats and light colored fur, the beautiful and striking Arctic reindeer, also known as the Caribou, can be spotted making their way across the icy plains of the Arctic region. Today the Caribou are decreasing in numbers, due to the effects caused by climate change, but an eagle-eye and some patience gives you a good chance of seeing this elusive creature in the wild.

The Arctic fox is another elusive land-dwelling species. Naturally camouflaged against the sheer white of its habitat, the Arctic fox is a majestic creature native to Iceland. Once spotted, the Arctic fox is a wildlife-lover’s dream, with jet-black eyes, pointed ears and a bushy white tail.

Interested in starting your adventure? Browse our full range of Arctic wildlife cruises here.

Sea-dwellers – underneath the icy surface

If marine life is what truly excites you, then there’s no shortage of it in the Arctic. The mighty walrus might wade in the water, but below the surface, there's plenty more wildlife. Take the small Beluga whales, also known as white whales, which are native to the Arctic. Beluga whales are only 13-20 foot in length (which is small for a whale) and have distinctive, large foreheads. Extremely social creatures, you may be lucky enough to encounter a Beluga whale during your time in the Arctic.

And if that doesn’t sound exciting enough, how about the mighty humpback whale? You can find these in the Arctic too, which is no surprise, as they migrate further than any other mammal on Planet Earth. Don't forget your camera, as to see them diving upwards out of the water for air is an amazing natural spectacle. 

Don't forget the ‘unicorn of the sea’, the narwhal. The Narwhal's 'tusk' has extraordinary sensory capabilities and is actually an enlarged tooth, which has been known to grow up to 10 feet in length and has 10 million nerve endings inside it!  If catching a glimpse of the narwhal is high up on your list, then schedule your trip for the Summer time, when chances of seeing them are higher than ever.

Polar bears in the Arctic – all you need to know

You might have been wondering why we haven’t yet mentioned the polar bear, which is arguably the main attraction for wildlife seekers in the Arctic. Simply put, we saved the best for last.

Weighing in at just under 1500 pounds, the polar bear is the largest, heaviest carnivore on the planet. The polar bear is an incredibly efficient hunter, with an excellent swimming technique that can take them up to 60 miles off shore and a sense of smell has an ultra-impressive range of up to 9 miles. When you’re the apex predator in a harsh environment, adaptation and development of the senses is crucial.

The polar bear is simultaneously a thing of beauty and sheer power. Nothing comes close to the thrill of catching a glimpse of this wonderful creature in the Arctic. Spot one of these awe-inspiring animals and your adventure will be complete!

Interested in starting your Arctic adventure? Browse our full range of Arctic wildlife cruises here.

arctic wildlife
arctic wildlife
When should I visit the Arctic?

Experiencing the polar region’s wildlife in all its glory isn’t straightforward. You’ll need to know which season is the best to visit for the particular type of wildlife you want to discover.

Most travelers to the Arctic visit from early summer in June through August. When visiting in early summer, around June, you'll experience the most daylight hours. At this time of the year, you’ll experience the midnight sun phenomena.More importantly, this light period is primetime for those polar bear sighting opportunities.

If you visit in July, in high summer, you’re likely to find the vibrant bursts of color that form from the emerging flora. Contrasting against the stark, white background, this makes for an impressive spectacle. New-born seabird chicks also make the cold, unforgiving terrain seem full of life and possibilities.

In August, the Arctic days become shorter, and twilight skies cover the landscape. This is also the time of year that the polar bears start to hunt, a fascinating sight for those that can catch it from a safe distance!

Our luxury Arctic cruises: Scenic Eclipse has an Arctic cruise for every type of traveller. You might wish to choose our 11-day The Arctic in Depth cruise itinerary, which takes guests on a round trip from Oslo, which cruises to the beautiful Svalbard Archipelago. Perhaps a longer cruise, such as the 23-day Ultimate Arctic Islands & Iceland itinerary, which visits Reykjavik, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Akureyri and the Westman Islands is more your type of luxury adventure at sea. 

Whichever itinerary you choose, you’ll experience ultimate, unrivalled 6-star luxury on board Scenic Eclipse, with a range of different world-class dining experiences, indulgent spa and gym facilities, and much more at your fingertips each and every day.

If our luxury Arctic adventures sound like your perfect cruise, download our 2019/2020 brochure on the left or browse our featured tours below to start your adventure of a lifetime.

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