Polar Bears

Polar Bears

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Polar Bear is the name for a white bear found on the icy sea of the Arctic throughout the North Polar basin. Being the only bear considered being marine, it is longer than other bears and streamlined for aquatic life. It has the “plantigrade” feet (heel and sole touching the ground) which are typical in all bears, with five sharp, claws on each foot for grasping at the ice and holding its prey. Long hair between the pads protects the bear's feet from the cold and provides traction on the ice so he doesn’t slip. Hard hairs on the forelegs, and very wide front feet, help the bear swim. All polar bears are white, although their fur may yellow in the summer because of the fat from animals it kills.
The largest wild bears ever weighed—were more than 800 kg (which is more than 1800 lb)—have been polar bears. However, most male polar bears weigh an average of about 350 kg (about 880 lb), and most females weigh about 250 kg (550 lb). Polar bears have a strong navigational sense, an extremely good sense of smell, and they are extremely good at solving problems in order to obtain food. They eat primarily ringed seals, and sometimes they also enjoy bearded seals, walruses, or even white whales. They also feed on berries, sedges, mussels, and kelp when they have no other food sources left.
As with other “true” bears, polar-bear mothers and young create strong bonds. The young cubs are very small when they are born: about 1 kg (about 2.2 lb). Their eyes remain closed for about 40 days and they must be fed every few hours. The mother keeps them close to make sure that they stay warm. Except during the breeding season, male polar bears are solitary and walk over vast amounts of sea ice while hunting. During the breeding season (which is from May to June), the males fight nonstop over females. Both the male and female may mate with other individuals as well.

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Polar bears have little interest in other Arctic animals, and they often ignore people entirely! Polar bears are hunted extensively in Canada and Greenland, but aren’t really hunted in Russia or Alaska. They are protected in Svalbard, Norway. Polar-bear populations are relatively safe because very few people share their habitat, but shipping and offshore drilling for oil threaten their way of life.
Works Cited

International Wildlife Encyclopedia: Third Edition. Volume 14 Par-Poo

http://www.polarbearsalive.org/pb13.htm (pictures)

Amazing Animals of the World. Pillar Coral - Volume 18

Biomes of the World. Polar Regions
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