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The amazing polar bear adaptations to survive

Updated on September 2, 2012

Picture of a polar bear

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The first time I saw polar bear at a zoo, I was talking to myself, man what a beautiful, attractive, huge creäture, so elegant and yet so powerful.

As a matter of fact they are really powerful and thus never been afraid of human existence and somehow dangerous if you get too close to them.

Polar bears are one of the largest carnivores to live on earth, and classified as marine bear.

Despite of the cold, sometimes harsh environment they live in, exceptional polar bear adaptations to its surrounding are really be different between survival and extinction.

Very unique polar bear adaptations

  • At first when we look closely, polar bear have stiffer hair in between pads of their feet. The pads will give protection from colder temperature, let them to have firm grim when walking on slippery ice.
  • Polar bear have hollow fur, which enable to trap air inside helping them to slightly float when swimming. The air trapped will insulate the bear’s warm body temperature from the colder temperature from the outside.
  • Despite of their huge appearance, polar bear have smaller ears. The rounded small ears will help them to avoid water getting in. The small ears also help them to save the body heat against extremely cold temperature from the outside.
  • Because of freezing and windy environments they are living in, the polar bears will dig a den few meters down, hiding from strong or freezing low temperature wind.
  • The natural white color of the fur, serve as camouflage, almost like ice color, which really useful when hunting for prey.
  • Despite of their huge body, they actually really good swimmers, enable them to catch other marine animals, such as seal, one of their favorite prey. When swimming, a polar bear can travel up to 100 km long.
  • Other polar bear adaptations I found interesting are the layer of fats and the black fur under their skin. The thickness of the fat up to 11 cm, helps them to protect them from cold. However with that thick layer of fats, overheating may occur, which anticipated by moving slower, and rest more often. The black fur makes them to able to hold the heat.

Polar bear photos

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More interesting white polar bear facts you might want to know

Cute polar bear cub

Female polar bears get into den when pregnant just two months before giving birth to cubs.

The newborn polar bear cubs, normally 30 to 35 centimeters long and 500 gram in weight.

When the polar bear cub reaches the age of 3 months they will be able to go out off the den. For 20 months or more, the polar bear cubs will only fed from their mother milk to survive, before they learn to hunt.

Extreme polar bear habitat

The length of shores, sea ice of the cold Artic is the polar bear habitat. Ice formed from colder temperature, over the ocean.

The polar bears would step on the ice to hunt for prey. You can spot polar bears on sea ice from shore. In case the sea ice melting due to warmer weather, the polar bear will move back to the shore.

The fearful polar bear attacks

The polar bear attacks on human are considered rare. In most polar bear attacks case are because, they are starving, get threatened, or being provoked.

The safest way to avoid any polar bear attacks is simply to avoid encountering any of them in the wild.

The sea ice melting phenomenon due to global warming will make the polar bear have fewer choices to survive, and they will move from the shore to inland where most people live.

Polar bear cub

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The endangered polar bear facts

Over the decades polar bear population has been substantially decreasing. Human responsible for the polar bear endangered situation, because they were hunted in the past, strict regulation is applied to avoid more bear getting killed.

Polar bear is unpredictable animal; they have different movement patterns in term of migration, and hunting. Sometimes they would travel extremely long distance, or shorter finding for food, or due to weather, or breeding and giving birth.

This unpredictability factors make most scientists difficulty to create a suitable conservation program for polar bears to survive and increase their number of population.

Picture of polar bear swimming

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The concerning polar bear extinction question

The global warming issue will decide the polar bear extinction in the future. The ongoing melt of the sea ice, which these bears are depend on for hunting the seals is really crucial. If this problem has no solution, polar bear will face extinction, because their hunting ground gets limited over time.

These bears only adapted to very specific environment to live, once this unique environment destroyed, they have nowhere to live, and facing extinction. Pollution also play important part to impact the ecosystem, and to their food source which are contaminated.

Polar bear picture on ice field

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    • greeneryday profile image
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      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      jpcmc , hello, yes polar bear depends entirely on the sea ice existence, without it a polar bear would not be able to hunt for food, and thus risking their life. I think all of us should think of a way to preserve their habitat before too late... thank you!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      NAture really provides for the animals. But humans are just too selfish that it affects other animals. I recently read about the melting of the ice sheet and it was considered as one of the worse ever. Imagine more than 90% melting.