101 Facts About Polar Bears


Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • The polar bears are native within the Arctic Circle which encompasses the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and landmasses. 
  • The polar being is significant in size, being the same as the Kodiak bear.
  • An adult male polar bear weighs around 350-700 kg (772-1543 lb) while a female weighs half the size. 
  • The polar bear scientific name is Ursus Maritimus. This term means “maritime bear.” 
  • The polar bear has both land and water adaptations, which creates a big gap between them and other bear species. 
  • The polar bear is a long-distance swimmer.
  • The habitat of a polar bear is harsh.  They live in cold areas occupied by ice and snow.
  • More than 40% of polar bears live in Canada. 
  • There are approximately 5,000 polar bears living in the northern terrirotries of Canada.
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Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • In North America, the main threats to polar bears are hunting from humans.
  • The polar bear is born on land, but they spend most of their lives in the water. 
  • The polar bear hunts for its preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice.  They often live off fat reserves when no sea ice is available. 
  • Out of the dependence on the sea ice, polar bears are classified as a marine mammal.
  • As a result of climate change, the polar bear is termed as a vulnerable species. 
  • To the circumpolar people, the polar bear has been a critical figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life. 
  • Polar bears are experts in survival, finding fascinating ways to overcome the challenges of nature time after time. 
  • Polar bears have evolved to withstand freezing temperatures. They have compact bodies, short legs, short tails, and short ears. 
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Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • Polar bears are much larger than their relative’s species.  This is because the larger the animal, the more heat they hold. Therefore they are able to adapt to these low-temperature regions of the world. 
  • In summer the polar bear shed off their thick coats and then grow them again when winter is near. 
  • Polar bears have an extra layer under their skin composed of fat and blubber.  This layer provides them with heat and energy. 
  • Polar bears live in dens or burrows to conserve warmth, despite these dens being made of snow.  The dens are warmer inside there than out in the open.
  • The dens also serve the purpose of protection from strong winds.
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  • The polar bear protects its young ones by putting them in the middle of the den.  The other adult bears surround them to provide warmth. 
  • Some polar bears can control their blood flow, and this helps keep the flow of warm blood to the most important organs like the brain, lungs, and heart. 
  • The polar bear hibernates when temperature hits freezing.  This helps to preserve both body heat and energy.  Those polar bears whose do not hibernate migrate to warmer areas. 
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • Food is scarce in the polar regions where the polar bears live.  The polar bears need to be smart at finding food.
  • Polar bears need a lot of food and are excellent hunters. They can smell small mammals in their burrows and can smell plants growing under the snow.
  • The polar bear can swim in water for a long time in search of fish as this is their primary food source. 
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  • Polar bears stash food when it is abundant.  By doing this they have something to eat when food is later scarce.  Polar bears also eat as much they can to fatten themselves up. They use these attained body fat through the coming winter.
  • Polar bears limit their activities to keep the energy they have for the future.
  • Polar bears are white, and this assists them to keep their temperature stable.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0O9Gp_rT24
  • Polar bears can camouflage from white during winter to darker colors during summer. This allows them to absorb the available sunlight and to camouflage against the soil. 
  • Their feet and well suited to walking in the snow. Their feet have fur which assists them not to feel cold, and their toes are designed so that their skin does not come into contact with the snow or slip over on ice.
  • Polar bears also exhibit excellent vision. They can see well above and under the water. They can see even during low light.
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • Polar bears do not drink water as they acquire enough water from the foods they take. Birds have salt glands, and this assists the polar bears from ingesting too much salt from the seawater they drink while eating their food.
  • The female polar bear gives birth to many young ones. However few make it to their first year due to harsh climates.   
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  • The proposal to drill oil and gas at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain endangers the future of the polar bear’s existence in that area. 
  • North America is part of the International Agreement on the conservation of polar bears which mandates cooperation on research and conservation efforts throughout the bear range.
  • There are modern methods of tracking polar bears population, and these methods were implemented in the 1980s, but are costly to be carried out over large areas.
  • The polar bear can swim long distances as it has powerful, large limbs and feet, which allow it to cover many miles. 
  • The polar bear has 42 teeth, to aid its highly carnivorous diet. 
  • Like the brown bear, the polar bear has an elongated body, but a longer skull and nose. 
  • The keen sense of smell in polar bears makes them able to detect seals nearly 1.6 km away and buried under 1 meter of snow. 
  • A polar bear has been known swim for nine days in the Bering Sea for 700 km to reach ice far from land. 
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • A polar bear swims at 10mk/h. When walking, they tend to have a lumbering gait and maintains an average speed of around 5.6km/h.  When sprinting, they  can reach up to 40 km/h. 
  • Polar bears are stereotyped as aggressive, yet they choose to escape more than fight. It is rare for a polar bear to attack humans except when severally provoked.  Despite this, a  hungry bear is unpredictable and are fearless towards people.
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  • The polar bear courtship and mating takes place on the sea ice in April and May.  It is this time when polar bears congregate in the best seal hunting areas. 
  • Polar bear meat is not suitable for human consumption as it has some risks such as trichinosis. 
  • A pregnant female eats huge amounts of food and gains at least 200 kg’s.
  • When giving birth nears, the female bear digs a maternity den consisting of a narrow entrance tunnel which leads to three chambers.
  • Sexual maturity in a female polar bear starts at the age of four and five years.  In a male polar bear, sexual maturity begins at six years of age. 
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • Polar bears rarely live for more than 25 years.  The oldest wild polar bear recorded lived 32 years while the oldest bear in captivity was a female and died aged 43.
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  • In Canada, polar bears are not endangered or listed among the unique concern mammals. Polar bears in Canada do hold a particular concern due to their sensitivity to harvest and habitat loss of the Arctic sea ice. 
  • The only danger to the existence of polar bears is climate change.
  • Polar bears have been found as far as 124 miles inland.  Most polar bears stick to the coast for easy access to the sea ice where they are most comfortable· 
  • Polar bear’s crack through sea ice while in search for seals, making them come out quickly. It also leads to other sea animals, which polar bears will feed on.
  • Polar bears travel throughout the year according to their individual ranges.  This can vary between 50,000 square miles and 135,000 miles.
  • Polar bears travel depending on the prevalence of sea ice and the size of adjacent land masses
  • Scientists have tracked the polar bear walking more than 20 miles per day for several days.
  • The polar bear does not come out of their den in winter.  They spend this time giving birth and caring for the newborns as they wait for the spring season.
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Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • Climate change affects polar bears significantly. The ocean temperature rises causingthe sea ice to melt, giving the bear insufficient time to hunt for seals from their ice platforms.
  • Polar bears are affected as the sea ice melts.  They have to swim further away from the shore to reach ice or have to face several days without food.
  • The polar bear is the largest among the three species of bear in North America. 
  • Polar bears are dangerous when they are hungry.
  • Polar bears can be found in Northern parts of Alaska, Canada and all of Greenland.
  • The polar bears have a hump on their shoulder like a grizzly bear. 
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  • The polar bear diverged from a population of brown bears which became isolated during a period of glaciation in the Pleistocene from the east of Siberia.
  • Polar bears are thought to exist only in low densities in the Arctic Basin.
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • A polar bear hunter uses a team of dogs to distract the bear. This allows the hunter to spear the bear or shoot with arrows at a closer range.
  • The hair of a polar bear is used to make trousers and Nenets make galoshes.
  • Today, some traditional methods of hunting and trapping in North America are still used.
  • The polar bears large canine teeth hold value as talismans to the Inuit people.
  • A polar bear liver is poisonous to eat as it contains a high concentration of Vitamin A
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  • Polar bear fur commercially traded in the 14th century despite its low value.
  • The polar bear hunters of the 20th century use some new machinery such as snowmobiles, icebreakers, and airplanes as well as traditional methods.
  • In the 1960s, survival was threatened and Canada began imposing hunting quotas in 1968.
  • The United States of America implemented a marine mammal protection Act in 1972 protect polar bears.
  • Polar bears serve as an indicator of Arctic ecosystem health.
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • The polar bear is studied to gain an understanding of the Arctic.  The study of the polar bear often gives a sign if something is wrong with the Arctic marine ecosystem.
  • They have been sighted increasingly in large numbers ashore, staying on the mainland for more extended periods during the summer months, especially in Northern Canada.
  • Polar bears are traveling farther inland in Canada, which has put a strain on non traditional foods such as waterfowl and caribou.
  • The number of polar bears has been predicted to diminish by two-thirds by 2050.
  • The polar bear’s divergences from other species of bear took place 400,000-600,000 years ago and have since survived all climate fluctuations.
  • Polar bears are unable to completely offset the loss of calorie-rich seal blubber with terrestrial foods.
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  • Polar bears listing as an endangered species by conservation groups has ended the hunting opposition from Canada’s Inuit people.
  • The polar population is stable today in contrast to the past 50 years, when hunting of these mammals was much higher.
  • The Inuit and Alaska natives have many folk tales in regards to polar bears. There is a legend in which bears were humans when inside their dens.
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • Polar bears have been used on some famous icons, mostly in those areas where they are native.
  • In Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada, the polar bear shape is used to make the vehicles number plates.
  • One of the most famous companies in the world, Coca-Cola, has used the polar bear in its advertising.
  • In many children’s storybooks, polar bears have been used as central characters
  • The polar bear has also been used in  animations such as the television series Noah’s Island, where the polar bear named Noah is the main protagonist.
  • The polar bear habitat has been endangered by the oil and gas development significantly, and this will likely affect the polar bear population in the future.
  • Polar bears accumulate high levels of pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyl. 
  • The care and concern about polar bears led to a reduction in the usage of many chemicals.
  • The extreme problem of foraging by bears in garbage dumps, has historically been more prevalent in years.
  • The current increase in global warming is one of the main threats to the existence of polar bears in the future.
Polar Bear
Polar Bear
  • The change of climate has affected the polar bear’s source of food leading to malnutrition and starvation as a result of habitat loss.
  • The reduction of sea ice cover has led to many polar bears drowning while swimming long distances in search of food.
  • The polar bear’s biggest threat is not from hunting, but climate change.
  • The polar bears are among mammals which require new regulations be put in place to secure their existence as current laws are not effective.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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