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Polar Bear

Posted in Mammals

The polar bear is a large bear who lives mostly within the arctic circle.  It has a short tail and small ears to keep it from losing body heat, a relatively small head compared to its body size, and a long, tapered body to streamline it for swimming. An adult male polar bear can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and reach up to 12 feet tall when standing on its hind legs!   They have dense, insulating fur and 4 1/2 inches of fat just under their skin to keep them warm. 

 

 

Did-you-know

 

polar bears look white, but each hair in their fur is actually transparent, like ice and snow?  That helps them blend into their environment perfectly!  Also, their skin underneath all that fur isn’t white either, but actually black.

 

 

Where-do-they-live

Polar bears live mostly in the arctic circle.  People often see illustrations of penguins and polar bears together, but this could never happen in the wild because penguins live in Antarctica which is on the opposite side of the world from the polar bear.  

 

A polar bear is a semi-aquatic marine mammal and spends most of its life on Arctic sea ice.  It prefers the edges of pack ice where they can find the greatest number of seals, its favorite food.  They are very strong swimmers, and their large front paws, which are up to 12 inches across, are slightly webbed which makes them well adapted to swimming.   Some polar bears have been seen swimming hundreds of miles from land, though they probably cover most of that distance by floating on sheets of ice.

 

 

 

What-do-they-eat

Polar bears need to eat a lot of fat to maintain their own body weight and fat layers.  A polar bear can eat 100 pounds of blubber in a single sitting!  They get this by eating seals… lots and lots of seals.  In addition to seals, they sometimes eat muskox, reindeer, small rodents, waterfowl, shellfish, fish, eggs, kelp, walruses and scavenge on the carcasses of whales.  Like other bears, polar bears will also eat fish, berries and grasses.

 

 

 

What-are-their-predators

Adult polar bears have no natural predators except other polar bears.  Wolves and other arctic carnivores may eat baby polar bears, but the biggest predatory threat to polar bears are polar bears themselves.

 

What-are-their-defenses

Polar bears are incredibly strong and powerful animals.  They are massive in size, weighing over 10 times that of a large man.  They have long sharp teeth and claws and if they are hungry, they will attack and kill any animal it sees as a threat. 

 

 

 

Danger-scale

Polar bears may look cute and cuddly but in the wild they are not.  They are fierce predators and will attack and kill a human if they are hungry or see the person as a threat.  A polar bear can kill a human with a swipe of its paw.

 

 

 

My-favorite-thing

about polar bears are their 42 extremely long, sharp teeth!

 

 

 

Can-you-believe

polar bears are the largest land predators in the world?

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