Polar bear facts for kids is a collection of some of the most amazing and interesting facts about polar bears. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is the largest terrestrial carnivore in the world. It is the most carnivorous species of all bears. Polar bear is also called arctic bear or white bear. The bear spends more than half of its life in water which is why it is also called marine mammal. They are apex predators for they have evolved to occupy their ecological niche.
Polar Bear Facts for Kids
Adult bears weigh as much as 772–1,543 pounds. They can reach a total length of 9 feet 10 inches. Males weigh 849 to 904 pounds while females averaging 331–551 pounds. Polar bears stand 133 high at the shoulder. They possess the shortest tails of all bears.
The white coat goes yellow with age. In fact it is not actually white—it only appears to be. Polar bear furs are hollow.
Unlike other bears, polar bears show elongated skull and nose. They have stocky-built body as compared to brown bears.
They are found in the Arctic Circle—Northern Hemisphere. Polar bears live in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Norway, Denmark including Bering Sea, Baffin Bay, Beaufort Sea, and Hudson Bay.
Polar bears likely make habitat on sea ice especially where the sea ice meets open water.
Polar bears eat ringed seals, bearded seals, caribou, whale carcasses, beluga whales, harp seals, narwhals, fourhorn sculpin, Arctic charr, harbor seals, crustaceans, rodents, reindeer, muskox, crabs, willow ptarmigan, berries, and kelp.
The polar bear has an acute sense of smell in that it detects prey a good mile away from the source.
Polar bears are excellent swimmers for they can swim 3 – 4 days continuously. Their body is insulated by 5 – 15 cm long guard hairs. One female polar bear swam for 9 days without stopping. She covered as much as 400 miles. Polar bears shed their hair in May and August.
They swim at a speed of 6 miles per hour. Polar bears are able to sprint at 25 miles per hour.
They do not mark territories for a simple reason that they must move with the prey as the season changes.
While polar bears live alone they do get along during the breeding season. The mating season occurs in April to May. The female produces two cubs in November and February. A polar bear cub weighs 22 – 33 pounds at birth—almost the size of a ground squirrel. The cubs are blind, naked, and helpless at birth. Young polar bears will not hide in dens, so they are highly vulnerable to predators at this stage.
The average lifespan of polar bears is about 16 – 25 years in the wild. The oldest wild bear died at 32 years age while the oldest captive specimen died at the age of 42 years.
The overall population of polar bears is estimated at 20,000 to 25,000 worldwide. The population is Vulnerable.