Iceland is such an unique habitat, that it only makes sense that the animals there are also unique. Much of the wildlife has adapted to water in some fashion as well as cold temperatures. I’ll admit, it was very hard to choose just six animals to feature!
You can download these three-part printable matching cards FREE HERE!
Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), is a species of seabirds in the auk family. Iceland has the largest population of these birds worldwide because in spring time they come over here for nesting and Iceland is the breeding home for about 60 percent of the world’s Atlantic puffins. Puffins can be seen in Iceland from early April until September each year. On land, it has the typical upright stance of an auk. At sea, it swims on the surface and feeds mainly on small fish, which it catches by diving under water, using its wings for propulsion. Miniature: I used the miniature by Papo sold here on Amazon.
Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae which are commonly referred to as “true seals” or “earless seals”. The grey seal feeds on a wide variety of fish, mostly benthic or demersal species, taken at depths down to over 230 feet. Miniature: I used a miniature from the “X Hot Popcorn” set of Ocean life figurines. You can buy the one I used here on Amazon.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) – The reindeer, also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, sub-Arctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North America. Miniature: I used the miniature found the “Artic” TOOB by Safari, Ltd. You can buy the one I used here on Amazon.
Icelandic Pony (Equus ferus caballus) – The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse developed in Iceland. Although the horses are small, at times pony-sized, most registries for the Icelandic refer to it as a horse. Icelandic horses are long-lived and hardy. In their native country they have few diseases; Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return. Miniature: I used a miniature from “Ponies” TOOB by Safari, Ltd. You can buy the one I used here on Amazon.
Artic Fox (Vulpes lagopus), is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is well adapted to living in cold environments, and is best known for its thick, warm fur that is also used as camouflage. The Arctic fox is the only land mammal native to Iceland. On average, Arctic foxes only live 3–4 years in the wild. Its body length ranges from 18 to 27 in, with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat. Miniature: I used the miniature found the “Artic” TOOB by Safari, Ltd. You can buy the one I used here on Amazon.
Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a species of baleen whale. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers. Humpbacks typically migrate up to 16,000 miles each year. They feed in polar waters like around Iceland, and migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed and give birth, fasting and living off their fat reserves. Miniature: I used a miniature from the “X Hot Popcorn” set of Ocean life figurines. You can buy the one I used here on Amazon.
I laminated my cards so they would stand up to little fingers.
We talked about each animal, and basic species it was (bird, mammal, reptile, insect, etc). We talked about if it was large or small. My preschooler then matched up the animals with the miniatures. After this we worked on matching the word cards to the animal pictures (I read the word cards to her, since she can’t read yet). What fun to learn about animals that live in other countries! 🙂