Only 2% of the continent, on the coasts, is not covered with ice. That part of Antarctica is inhabited by 30 million penguins! There are some rare mammals, mainly whales and seals. There are no polar bears in Antarctica. Some species of birds, including terns, great skuas, petrels and cormorants, are able to survive in this harsh climate. The Antarctic is the only place on Earth where there are no butterflies.

The vegetation is limited to mosses, lichens and only two flowering plants.