Which Animals Could You See On Your Winter Wildlife Tour?

Which Animals Could You See On Your Winter Wildlife Tour?

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on Dec 23, 2016

While it might be a little late to be thinking about a Christmas getaway (the big day is only two sleeps away!!!), winter itself still has a little time left to give us the blues. But, never to fear! The Great Projects are here to offer you an exciting excursion through a winter wonderland. Embark on a visual journey into the Nordic wilderness, allowing yourself to be fascinated by Finland as we introduce you to some of the animals you’d expect to meet on your adventures – it’ll be no time until you’re planning a break for 2017!

Huskies

Playful huskies

Husky

Huskies

First up, let us introduce you to possibly the prettiest animals on the list. These handsome hounds have been a part of Nordic culture for many years, and it's only natural that you'd expect some interaction with them on either of our winter projects! Playful and sweet, huskies are also very obedient animals and truly were born to run, which is great news for their owners. That said, they can be very difficult to train, and volunteers are encouraged to spend a good amount of time getting to know these boisterous animals before attempting to become trainers themselves (if that's what you're in to, anyway!) In terms of their genetic makeup, huskies are ingeniously well-adapted for life in the cold, what with their thick double coat and water-resistant outer-fur being not only beautiful and unique, but very practical, too. Learn more about the history of Finland's huskies here.

Reindeer

Reindeer looking into camera

Reindeer sleigh

Reindeer

Easily associated with the festive season, as well as with winter in general, reindeer are another species of animal commonly found throughout Finland. While Santa's affinity with these animals may be due to their amiable nature, it must be noted that reindeer are actually something of a super-animal - in fact, they are the only mammal that is capable of seeing ultraviolet light! This means that they suffer not with snow blindness (surely beneficial to the man in red), and it also enables them to be stealthily aware of their surroundings, being able to see the urine of other animals left behind in the snow and therefore avoiding both predators and competition alike. That said, despite their friendly attitude and intelligent minds, reindeer can be stubborn when it comes down to it, reportedly taking anywhere between 3 to 7 years to 'learn' to pull a sleigh. Again, it's not that they're dumb deer - they just know what they like, and it takes their trainers a good amount of time to convince them to do any work!

Bears

Brown bear in snow


Brown bear and cubs

Another native to the Finnish forest (and the country's national icon, no less), brown bears are the biggest animal on this list, standing anywhere between 5ft and 7ft tall. That said, they're also one of the most gentle (when left to their own devices, that is) - it may come as a surprise to you that nearly three quarters of a brown bear's diet consists of plant life such as grass and berries, and with the remaining quarter being made up of various fruits, nuts and sometimes insects, with small animal remains to be eaten on the rare occasion where other options aren't available. With that in mind, it really is amazing that they manage to keep all 300+ kilos of their weight intact! In terms of their personality, brown bears are sweetly shy animals, going about life with great caution and a tender gait. They're happy enough in secluded habitats such as forests or caves, but you may just catch a glance of these curious creatures during your trip!

Wolves

Wolf

Eurasian wolf

Eurasian wolves

Here are the wolves - renowned worldwide as being highly cunning and with feral temperaments, wolves are the largest member of the canid (dog) family, weighing in between 30-50kg and standing at up to a metre tall. Extremely adaptable, wolves are able to live in diverse habitats such as the woods and the mountains, and are unphased when the snow begins to fall or, indeed, melt away. They are also really quite unafraid of humans, able to come into close proximity without feeling threatened and confident enough to scavenge food from inhabited areas such as towns and villages. Feasting mainly on the meat of elk, deer or boar, wolves do occasionally eat plants and berries if other foods are scarce. As they are highly sociable animals, you'll be sure to spot the wolves hanging out with their squad (or their pack, if we're being pedantic...); even if from a distance, these animals are some of the most intriguing to observe.

Wolverines

Small wolverine

Wolverine

Wolverine in forest

I bet you didn't expect these guys to look like this, did you? Sweet as they may seem, wolverines are actually fierce little creatures when they need to be. Hugh Jackman's X-Men namesake has a similarly ferocious attitude when provoked, and is also very territorial, being just as solitary as you'd imagine them to be. In fact, the only other one to venture into a male wolverine's habitat would be his partner, and their baby kits (who, as you probably could guess, dad is very protective over.) When it comes to their ability to survive in the wilderness, wolverines have actually adapted very well over time to their climates, developing very thick, dense fur and large snowshoe-like paws that expand to twice their size as they hit the snow, enabling the wolverine to walk without sinking through. How amazing is that!? Going back to their survival instincts for a second, though...did you know that, unlike many other carnivorous animals, wolverines eat all parts of their prey - including the bones! Their strong teeth and jaws are capable to break the bones of their kill - or even those of frozen carcasses, sniffed out from as far as 20 feet under the snow. Eugh!

Interested in all of the above? These projects often have limited availability and run through specific months only, so check out our project pages to book your place now!

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