About Polar Bears

Polar bears are highly interesting creatures and possess many different traits when compared to their cousins who live in warmer climates. Below you will find interesting and little known facts about polar bears.

•The polar bear is native to the Arctic. The bear’s thick blubber and fur insulate it against the cold.
•A polar bear’s fur is hollow and translucent but to the naked eye appears white or cream colored. This provides the bear with camouflage.
•A polar bear’s skin is actually black in color.
•The polar bear has a short tail and small ears that help reduce heat loss. The polar bear’s smaller head and long, tapered body are used to streamline the animal for better swimming.
•The polar bear is actually considered a semi-aquatic marine mammal that eats mainly food that is found in the water.
•Polar bears do not shed their coat for a darker shade in the winter, as do most other bears.
•Because polar bears overheat at temperatures above 10 °C (50 °F), they are nearly invisible under infrared photography. If a part of them is seen, it is usually either their breath or muzzle.
•Polar bears in captivity will usually have fur that begins to turn green. This is because algae grow in the guard hairs in unusually warm conditions. Zoologists will sometimes wash the bears in salt solution, or mild peroxide bleach to make the fur white again.
•Scientists believe that global warming is to blame for the decrease in sea ice and the negative impact that this has on the polar bear population.
•According to DNA evidence, scientists believe that the polar bear and the brown bear diverged more than 200 thousand years ago.
•The polar bear is regarded as a marine mammal because the sea is such an important part of polar bear life.
•The polar bear population is estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000. The total global population of polar bears has increased from 5,000 to 25,000 between the 1970’s and 2007.
•Companies like Coca-Cola, Polar Beverages, Nelvana, Bundaberg Rum and Good Humor-Breyers have used images of the polar bear in their logos.
•The Canadian two-dollar coin features the image of a polar bear.
•The polar bear was chosen as the mascot for the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary, Canada.

•Scientists have concluded that a polar bear’s hearing is probably as sensitive as human hearing, reaching frequencies as low as 0.02 kHz and as high as 20 kHz.
•The eyesight of polar bears also appears to be similar to that of human’s with the exception that polar bears have a protective membrane over their eyes that scientists assume is to help shield the eyes from ultraviolet light, no doubt reflected off of the snow and ice.
•A polar bear’s sense of smell is its most important sense for detecting prey on land. Amazingly, a polar bear can smell a seal more than twenty miles away.
•The average walking speed of a polar bear is 3.4 mph. When being chased or charging prey, polar bears can run as fast as twenty-five miles per hour for short distances before they overheat.
•Adult female polar bears with cubs hunt about nineteen percent of their time during the spring and about thirty-eight percent of their time during the summer. Adult male polar bears hunt about twenty-five percent of their time during the spring and about forty percent of their time during the summer.
•Young polar bear cubs chase and tackle their siblings. Older bears will also engage in playful fighting.
•Polar bears are excellent swimmers, and polar bear sightings in Arctic waters have been recorded as far as sixty miles from land. The polar bear’s five inch layer of fat gives the animal buoyancy in addition to insulating them from the cold.


Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "About Polar Bears." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 10 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/go/172/about-polar-bears/ >.

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