The Polar Bear has a longer neck than other bears which allows them a longer reach when hunting their aquatic prey. They have huge paws with bumpy pads that naturally help them get a grip in the ice of their Arctic region. They have small ears & short tails which helps reduce heat loss.
Even though I enjoy seeing Polar Bears in zoos, I often feel quite sorry for them. They are most often panting due to the heat. Even in colder weather, it is rarely cold enough for a Polar Bear to be truly comfortable. In the zoo, the bears cool down by swimming in the pools in their enclosures. Several of the zoos that I have visited have viewing areas so you can watch the bears swim underwater. It is entertaining for us to watch a bear swim, but for them, it is quite refreshing and a great reprieve from the heat.
Polar Bears are also referred to as Sea Bears. They are actually the only bear classified by several countries as a marine mammal. Their paws are also wide and flat which helps them to propel through water in spite of their massive size. Think of a paddle on a boat and how it can move a boat even without current.
Polar Bears are excellent swimmers and have no trouble whatsoever swimming underwater.
Facts About Polar Bears
- Black Skin Covered with 2 Layers of White Fur
- Height: Up to 10 feet tall
- Weight: Up to 1100 lbs.
- Life Span: Up to 30 years
- Nickname: Sea Bear
- Lives In: Arctic Regions: Alaska (US), Canada, Greenland, Russia & Norway
- Food: Seals, Reindeer, Fish, Seabirds, bird eggs and berries
- Cubs: 1 - 4 Cubs born every 2 - 4 years
- Currently: Vulnerable Status, but numbers are decreasing