During this (supposedly) snowy season, I thought I’d do a post in relation to an animal that deals with frosty conditions a lot chillier than we do! So here is some information you may not have known… about Polar bears!
Scientific name, Ursus maritimus, translates to ‘sea bear’. Polar bears are the world’s largest land-based carnivores; however most of their lives are spent around ice and (in) water. They’re at particular risk from their Arctic, icy habitat melting; without the ice there is nowhere for the bears.
Polar bears are listed as Threatened on the endangered species list; with a population of 22,000-31,000 in the wild.
Polar bears live in five places across the world: Alaska (USA), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway. Polar bears do not live in Antarctica, but Penguins do. Have you ever heard the joke: (Q) Why don’t Polar Bears eat penguins? (A) Because they can’t get the wrapper off (referring to the chocolate biscuit)! – Well know you know the real reason; they live nowhere near each other!
Adult Polar bears can measure over 6ft in length, and weigh over 800lbs. They are usually between 1.8-2m in height, with females being larger. The large size and weight is what makes this species the largest living carnivores on land! They live on average, approximately, 18 years – however in captivity have been known to live 30+ years.
These bears have thick, water resistant, insulating, white fur – however their skin underneath is black. The black skin helps to absorb and retain heat, to keep the animal warm. They have small ears and tail, and large, powerful paws equipped with razor-sharp claws. They have webbing in between their toes, to help them swim. Polare bears are amazing swimmers, and have even been spotted 100km away from shore!
Their nose has an incredible sense of smell, and these animals can smell prey from 15km away – and through the ice! Their prey; mainly seals. Polar bears have been known to resort to cannibalism if desperate enough.
Polar bears do not hibernate; however females will live in a den, burrowed under the snow, to gestate and give birth. During this time, the female will live off her fat reserves, and will not emerge again until the cubs are old enough. Polar bears typically give birth to two cubs; although they can have anywhere from one-three cubs at a time. Cubs stay with their mother for two years, learning from her, before venturing out on their own.
All images are open source, Google images.
If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)