Polar Bear

Polar Bear

Conservation

Scientific Classification

OrderCarnivora
FamilyUrsidae
GenusUrsus
Binomial nameUrsus Maritimus

Range Map

Polar bear range map
Range of species in blue

Description

Polar bears are classed as marine mammals.  They range throughout the arctic regions, with the limits of their range limited by the ice pack of the ocean.  

Polar bears will travel large distances, as far as 1,000 km as the ice melts and freezes.  

Polar bears are exceptionally large.  They can weigh up to 800 kg, reaching a length of 2.5 meters in length.  Females are smaller weighing up to 300 kg, and reaching a length of 2 meters.  

Polar bears have a white appearance to their pelage, but this can change to brown, gray or yellowish depending on the season.  The skin of a polar bear is black, and their fur is translucent.  The white appearance is from light being shone through the hair strands.  

Polar bears are excellent swimmers, with large paws to help them swim.  Polar bears are carnivores, feeding mainly on ringed seals and bearded seals.  They will also feed on walruses, hooded seals, sea birds, fish and other small mammals.  They consume mainly the blubber from seals, leaving behind the meat.  The blubber has high calories, important for the polar bear to maintain a fat layer that insulates them in the cold temperatures.