The polar bear has lived in the cold regions of the earth for thousands of years.
More recently, as the polar caps melt and they are losing their habitat, they have become the symbol for global warming.
How long do Polar Bears Live?
Polar bears in the wild can live as long as twenty-five years.
Females being to have babies at the age of four or five years.
The female will dig a hole in a large snowdrift or find a cave to deliver her two ‘cubs’.
The family remains in the shelter through the entire winter and will emerge in the spring.
Polar bear cubs are born at nearing one pound and are about the size of a rat.
With the right diet, the polar bear cub can grow to the full size of a man within a year.
Polar bear females need to eat a lot of food to store the fat that will be needed when they are in their dens for the whole winter, raising their babies.
They will not come out and the fat is needed for both their own and the babies’ survival.
The color of a polar bear’s fur is deceiving
We may think it is white, but it isn’t. Each of the hairs of their fur is actually a hollow clear tube.
We see it as white because of the reflection of the light.
The design of the fur traps the infrared heat of the sun and keeps the bear warm.
The fur of the polar bear is actually water repellent with natural oil.
When the fur is wet it doesn’t ‘mat’ and this allows the polar bear to shake excess water off easily.
Polar Bear Cubs
When they are born, a Polar Bear cub can weigh between 450 to 650g. The male cub is usually heavier than the female.
Like lots of other small animals, they are born with their eyes closed and fairly helpless.
Their fur is very fine and almost makes him look as if they don’t have any. They stay in the den to keep warm.
Usually, they are born between November and December.
The mother usually looks after the cub and the father plays no role in raising them whatsoever.
While in the den, they will drink the mothers’ milk and as they get older and leave the den, they will learn to eat and hunt for seals.
Depending on their exact location, they will stay in the den until March, April or May.
In the beginning, the cub will not help with hunting but learn to stay quiet while the mother hunts for seals.
The cub will stay with the mother for roughly 2 ½ years and during this time, they will learn how to hunt and survive in the Arctic.
For several reasons, the polar bear is classed as a vulnerable species.
This is because of habitat loss due to climate change, and for many decades large-scale hunting had also contributed to this.
The population has rebounded because of international concern and the controls put in place to help.
The polar bear is an important part of the cultural life of the local people.
It is also known as the “White Bear” and sometimes referred to as “Nanook.”
Because they spend many months at sea, they are classed as a Marine mammal.
They are the only Marine mammal with large feet and powerful limbs, which allows them to run on land covering a lot of distance.
They love being on this sea ice and the areas that have sea ice and water; this allows them to hunt for food (seals) easily.
They are normally found on the perimeter of the polar ice pack because they have more chances of finding food in this area of the Arctic
As the ice packs melt during the summer months, this forces the bears to be on land and wait until everything freezes again.
Fun Polar Bear Facts for Kids
- You will find polar bears in the Arctic.
- A group of polar bears is called a pack of Sleuth.
- They don’t hibernate.
- They like to hunt and eat seals
- They have a very strong sense of smell and can sniff out a sealed then from 20 miles away.
- In 2008 they were listed as an endangered species by the US.
- Their paws are covered with fur which prevents them from slipping on the snow and ice.
- Their sharp claws also help them grip the ice.
- Polar bears are big. The male can be ten feet tall and weigh in at over 1,400 lbs. and females can be seven feet tall and weigh in at 650 lbs.
- The biggest or largest polar bear on record was discovered in 1960 in Alaska weighing in at 1002 kg.
- They have 42 teeth which help them when catching food.
- The maximum speed a polar bear can run at his 40 km an hour.
- A thick layer of blubber keeps them warm when they go for a swim.
- They can swim at 6.2 miles per hour.
- It is reported that they regularly swim over 30 miles.
- Polar bears are found in several different countries around the Arctic Circle Canada, United States, Norway, Russia, and Greenland.
- Polar bears are known for their beautiful pure white fur and are also known by the names sea bear or ice bear.
- Polar bears are the largest predator on land and they live in a variety of areas: Alaska (in the U.S.), the Arctic, Russia, Canada, Denmark (Greenland), and Norway. Due to overhunting, all of these countries have either banned hunting altogether or established preset laws as to the number of polar bears that can be hunted and the land boundaries.
- It is believed that there are between 25,000-40,000 polar bears in the Arctic.