9 amazing facts about polar bears

Discover fascinating facts about polar bears. 

Polar bears, Spitsbergen, Norway.

1. Big range 

Polar bears reside mostly amongst the circumpolar regions of Canada, Norway, Greenland and Russia. However, they have been seen further south in James Bay, Canada. 

2. Name that bear 

The Inuit people of the Canadian Artic call the polar bear nanuq, an animal worthy of great respect. In Russia the polar bear is called beliy medved meaning the white bear, while in Norway and Denmark, the polar bear is called isbjorn, meaning ice bear.

3. Double trouble

Female polar bears usually give birth to twins. A single cub or triplets is uncommon. The pair of cubs will remain with their mother for the first two years of their lives before leaving to find their own territory.

4. Heavyweights

The polar bear is the largest land carnivore. Adult males can weigh between 390kg and more than 590kg and females can weigh between 152kg and 295kg. 

5. Nowhere to hide

Using their amazing sense of smell, these efficient hunters can detect prey almost a kilometre away and nearly a metre below the compacted snow.

6. What’s on the menu? 

Ringed seals and bearded seals are a polar bear’s main food source. In a single sitting, the carnivore can eat 45kg of blubber but during months when prey is scarce it can slow down its metabolism until more food is available. 

7. Balancing act

In order to walk easily on the icy terrain polar bears have non-retractable claws and paw pads that act like suction cups.

8. Keeping clean

Polar bears depend on their fur for insulation during harsh winters. Dirty, wet and matted fur is less likely to keep the animals warm so they wash it in the snow to keep it clean. 

9. Climate change 

Polars bears are listed as a Vulnerable species. Loss of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is the most serious threat to the animals throughout their range. 

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