Previous: Viewer Mail From England! | Science for Kids
Next: The Power of Circuits! | Technology for Kids | SciShow Kids



View count:728,657
Last sync:2024-04-14 07:00


Citation formatting is not guaranteed to be accurate.
MLA Full: "Migrations: Big Animal Trips | Science for Kids." YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 16 November 2016,
MLA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2016)
APA Full: SciShow Kids. (2016, November 16). Migrations: Big Animal Trips | Science for Kids [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2016)
Chicago Full: SciShow Kids, "Migrations: Big Animal Trips | Science for Kids.", November 16, 2016, YouTube, 04:32,
Have you ever moved? Some animals move too! And if an animal moves from one place to another for weather or food, it’s called migration!

Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records:

Or help support us by becoming our patron on Patreon:
Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet?


Have you ever gone on a trip away from home? Maybe you traveled in a car to see some family, or took a plane to go somewhere fun on vacation! Well, did you know that a lot of animals take trips, too? Many different kinds of animals move from one place to another, and when they do, we say they migrate.

But not all kinds of trips that animals make are considered migration. When Squeaks moves from the lab to the kitchen, we don’t call that a migration. Sorry, Squeaks... but maybe we can call it snack time!

Most of the time, migration means moving over a long distance. So, animals can migrate to different parts of a country, or even different parts of the world! Now, migrations also happen at a certain time. For example, you might have seen birds flying south for the winter. That's a kind of migration!

But they’re not just going on a trip for fun. Animals migrate for good reasons. Many birds migrate in the winter because the weather is too cold for them, so they need to go someplace warmer. Other animals, migrate long distances to look for food. And sometimes, creatures migrate so that they can have babies in a place they know is safe. It doesn’t matter if the animals move over land, through water, or in the air. If an animal moves a certain distance, and does it at a certain time... it’s a pretty good bet they’re migrating.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s take a look at some cool animal migrations! Let’s meet the champion of migration on land: the caribou! Caribou live way up north, in places like Northern Canada and the state of Alaska. And one group of caribou -- called a herd -- moves around this area in a big loop... and they do it every year.

For most of the winter, this herd of caribou lives here, right on the border between Canada and Alaska. Then, in early spring, around April, the caribou go on the move. They travel about 600 kilometers north, to an area near the ocean. And this place near the coast has lots of food for the caribou to eat. So this is where the mother caribou have their babies!

But it’s not such a great place for long! That’s because by the middle of summer, the coast becomes home to big swarms of mosquitoes and other biting insects! So the herd goes on the move again... this time they move away from the ocean. Then, in the fall, when things start to get really cold, they move back south where there’s more food, and the weather is less harsh. Finally, when spring arrives, they start all over again! And at the end of the year, some of these caribou have walked almost 5,000 kilometers! Whew!

When it comes to migrations in the sea, whales go farther than any other kind of animal. Lots of kinds of whales migrate, but the whale that migrates the farthest is this one—the humpback whale. Most kinds of humpbacks spend the summer in cool waters up north, near places like Alaska. All summer they eat things like shrimp and small fish, building up the energy they’ll need for the trip they’re about to take. When the water starts to get too cool, the humpbacks swim south to warmer waters near Hawaii and other tropical islands.

There, the whales rest and have their babies. And they stay there until the babies are strong enough to swim back north. And it can be a long swim, too! The longest recorded swim for a humpback whale is over 15,000 kilometers! But one animal that’s in the running for making the longest migration ever is the Arctic Tern.

This bird isn’t very big, it’s only about the size of the ruler you use at school, and some of the time it lives near the North Pole. When winter comes, though, it doesn’t just go a little bit south. The Arctic tern flies over 35,000 kilometers to the very tip of South America. That’s about as far south as you can go! It’s not only one of the longest migrations by air, it’s one of the longest migrations made by any animal!

How do all of these animals find their way? After all, they don’t have maps, or phones, or computers like people do. Well, different animals have their own ways to keep them from getting lost. Some animals look to the sky and use the stars, moon, and sun to help them find their way. Others stay on the right path by watching the landscape and following features like mountains and rivers.

Caribou, humpback whales, and Arctic terns are just some of the animals that make these amazing journeys. But fish, insects, and even jellyfish migrate, too. That’s something to think about the next time you’re on a trip!

Thanks for joining me on SciShow Kids! Do you have a question you’d like us to answer? Ask a grownup to help you to leave a comment on this video, or ask them to send an email to!