|Scientific Name||Ursus maritimus|
|Lifespan||25 – 30 years|
|Size||Length: 2.1 – 3.4 meters|
|Weight||400 – 680 kilograms|
|Conservation status||Least concern > Near threatened >|
Vulnerable > Endangered >
Critically endangered > Extinct in the wild >
Polar bears are the biggest bear species. Similar to other arctic animals, they are great swimmers. They paddle in the water using their two front paws, and their toes are fused together a little bit. They might have to swim hundreds of kilometers away from land.
Habitat & Diet
Polar bears are located up north in Canada’s arctic and the arctic circle. Surprisingly, polar bears can’t be found in Antarctica. They spend the majority of the day on ice flows, and if on the coast, they often are close to the water.
This bear species is carnivorous. Generally, they eat ringed seals, as well as fish, other seal species, narwhals, reindeer, and carrion. To hunt a seal, the bear waits for a sea to come to the waters’ surface to take a breath. The bear grabs the seal and tugs it onto land to eat it.
Polar bears are one of the few animals that purposely kill and eat humans.
Mating & Young
Besides for mating season, polar bears are mostly solitary animals, which is March through June. The gestation period lasts eight months, and one to three cubs are born between November and January.
The calves are underdeveloped and blind. They open their eyes and begin to walk in a month, more or less. They only stay with the mother for approximately two to three years and become sexually mature at three or four years.
Adapting To The Arctic
The bear’s white coat blends in very well with the snow and ice, allowing it to sneak up on other animals and prey without them noticing. A thick layer of fat keeps the bear warm in the cold temperatures, along with lots of furs. They have black skin underneath their fur layer, which allows them to soak up the sun’s warmth.
Predators & Global Warming
Polar bears have next to no predators. Their only natural predators are other polar bears and killer whales, but humans also hunt them. Local arctic populations hunt polar bears for food and their thick fur.
Global warming is causing all the Arctic ice to melt, which the polar bears depend on. Seal pups are in need of that ice too, and losing seals is a problem for polar bears because it makes up most of its diet. Polar bears are important to the Arctic’s food chain and ecosystem.
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- Polar Bear on National Geographic – https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/p/polar-bear/
- Polar Bear on WWF – https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/wildlife/polar-bears
- Polar Bear on The Animal Files – https://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/carnivores/bear_polar.html
- Polar bear on Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_bear
- Polar Bear on National Wildlife Confederation – https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Mammals/Polar-Bear
- Gallo N., 2020, Are There Polar Bears In Antarctica? No – find out why. on Aurora Expeditions – https://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/blog/are-there-polar-bears-in-antarctica/
- All About Polar Bears – Longevity & Causes of Death on SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment – https://seaworld.org/animals/all-about/polar-bear/longevity/