‘Tis the season for freshly fallen snow, warm blankets, and holiday cheer (and scraping ice from car windshields). For humans in the northern hemisphere, it’s the time of year for sledding and ice skating, cookie baking and ugly sweater parties, and cuddling up by the fireplace to watch classic movies. Unlike humans, many animal species—particularly in Arctic regions—are simply built for wintery conditions. Some of them even seem to embody the season itself (ahem, reindeer). Grab a cup of hot cocoa, and let’s take a look at just a few of these wonderfully wintery creatures.
Finally, some good news for the littlest marine mammal you’ve probably never heard of—the vaquita (va-KEE-tah)! Mexican authorities recently announced a permanent ban on the use of gillnets in this endangered species’ home range, a protected area of the upper Gulf of California. Hopefully, the ban will reduce the number of vaquitas that become entangled in fishing nets meant to catch other species.