There is only one species of the polar bear. In science, it is called, Ursus maritimus. This means “sea bear.”
The polar bear is the largest land predator and also the largest of all the bear species. The Inuit peoples have great respect for this bear. It is called, Nanuk. When they write about the polar bear they call it, Pihoqahiak, meaning the ever-wandering one.
Let’s discover more fun facts about our frosty friend the polar bear.
Polar Bear Fast Facts
- Size: 8.2 feet (2.5 m) long
- Weight: 1,499 pounds (680 kg).
- What does it eat? Seals, fish, walrus, birds, and even garbage.
- Where does it live? Arctic, Alaska, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.
- Threats: Climate change and hunting.
- Lifespan: 25 years
Did you know?
1. The paws of the polar bear are suited to both water and snow. They are also huge measuring in at 12 inches (30.5 cm) across! On the bottom of the polar bear’s big feet are pads covered with little bumps. These keep the bear from slipping on the ice and snow.
2. The fur of this bear is waterproof. It has two layers, a thick, short undercoat, and longer top hairs. Even though the polar bear may appear to be white, the hairs on its coat are actually transparent (see-through). Under the fur, this bear’s skin is black to absorb the sunlight.
3. The polar bear is considered a still-hunter. It uses its excellent sense of smell to locate its favorite food, the seal. To catch a seal, the polar bear waits outside the small hole in the ice the seal uses for getting air. When the seal comes up for a breath, the polar bear reaches in with its massive paw and grabs it.
What are the polar bear’s special abilities? It is fast and an excellent swimmer. It spends a lot of time in the water. The polar bear can reach speeds of up to 25 miles-per-hour (40 kph). The polar bear can also swim long distances – up to 62 miles (100 km) without stopping.
4. Polar bears can also “talk.” Adult polar bears mostly make sounds when they are unhappy. An angry polar bear may growl, hiss, chuff or champ its teeth together. Baby polar bears will whimper, squall, hiss, and smack their lips. Mother polar bears will warn their cubs by chuffing or braying.
5. Female polar bears can have their young at 4 to 5 years of age. They only breed about every three years. Mom polar bear will gain a lot of weight – over 400 extra pounds (181 kg)! She will then build a den in the snow to give birth to her cubs.
6. Baby polar bears are born with soft fuzzy fur. They are blind and helpless. Usually, the female will have only two cubs, weighing around two pounds each (0.9 kg). They nurse milk from their mother and will remain with her for around 2.5 years.
Watch these baby polar bears adapt to life on the snow and ice!
What do you think of our frosty friend the polar bear? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section!