A trip to Antarctica is great for the adventure it provides and of course the amazing experience of trekking on the bottom of the world. The 7th continent is also a popular destination for those of us who love wildlife; observing in the wild species we may not see anywhere else in the world. The wildlife aspect of a trip to Antarctica is I believe the most important and the animals one sees along the way will often times define the trip.
If there is one clear resident of Antarctica, it is the penguin. Five species of penguin call Antarctica home and they number in the millions, a fact that won't surprise you after your first landing on the Last Continent. Among the species you may see are the Adelie, Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins. Since most Antarctic trips take place during the Austral summer, you'll see the penguins engaging in a variety of different activities depending on when you visit. If you visit early in the season you'll see them gently tending to their eggs while in later months you'll see incredibly cute baby penguins hopping around. Theres no preferred time to go, it just depends on what your interests are.
With no natural land predators in Antarctica, seals are one of the dominant animals in and around the continent. There are 6 species of seal in Antarctica and if you're lucky you'll see most of them during your stay. The most aggressive of the species though is without a doubt the leopard seal. Named for both its temperament and the spots on its skin, this is not an animal to fool around with. While you do have to be respectful, there will be many moments when you see seals in their most cute state, just relaxing on drifting ice or in a snow bank on land.
Many people forget that whales are one of the most prominent residents of icy Antarctica. Depending on when you visit, you'll see whales on their annual pilgrimages, eating the massive amounts of krill found in the open waters. Humpback whale sightings happen regularly, but if you're lucky you'll also see the beautiful but deadly orcas, on the hunt for their next meal.
Which Antarctic animal do you most want to see in the wild?