Polar bears By: Megan Smith
Behavioral characteristics • They spend most of their times hunting seals and camping out next to a seal’s hole on the ice. • Polar bears use their large front paws to push themselves through the water. They use their back paws to steer. • They can swim up to 100 miles at a time without taking a rest. • They could stay under water for 2 minutes without coming up for air. • On land, they can run 35 miles per hour and leap up to 15 feet.
Physical Characteristics • Polar bears could be up to 10 feet tall and 1,700 pounds. • The female could be 500 or 600 pounds. • Polar bears are the largest predators on land and the largest of all bears. • They have fur and skin that allow them to absorb sunlight and keep them warm. • Their skin, which is called blubber, keeps them warm in cold water. • They have fur even on the soles on their feet. • They are a light cream color. Their faces have freckles caused by whisker pigmentation or missing hair.
Habitat • They live along the shores and on sea ice in the Arctic. • They live in Canada, Russia, Norway, and the USA. In the USA, they are found in Alaska. • They go on the ice to hunt seals. • When there is warm weather, polar bears move closer to the shore. • In the fall, pregnant polar bears make dens. They will stay there through the winter and give birth to 3 cubs. • In the spring, the mother comes from the den followed by her cubs.
habitat • The mother will nurse them to 2 and a half years. She will protect them and teach them how to hunt. • They mate in the spring. • The babies weigh one and a half pounds at birth and don’t open their eyes until they are a month old. • They stay in the den for a few months until they weigh 25 pounds. Mothers are very protective and look after them for 3 years. • When there is warm weather, polar bears move closer to the shore.
diet • Their favorite food is seals. • They wait at the seals’ breathing hole in the ice. When the seals come up they bite their heads off. • Polar bears also swim beneath the ice to hunt seals. • They are carnivores (meat eaters). • They can smell a seal from a mile away. • They also eat sea birds, fish, crabs, dead whales, walruses, and trash off the shore. • After polar bears eat, their face and fur will be bright red.
Fun Facts • The US, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Russia signed an agreement in 1973 to protect polar bears. • They have paw pads with rough surfaces that help prevent them from slipping on the ice. • Only humans prey on polar bears. • Scientific studies show that they may be extinct by the year 2100. • It is estimated that there are 25,000 to 40,000 polar bears. • Global warming is an ongoing threat.
Fun Facts • Polar bears are not likely to attack humans. • The adult male is a boar and the adult female is a sow. • They are sister species of the brown bear. • When they meet each other, they touch their noses to say hello. • Polar bears can breed with brown bears to produce grizzly bears.
Bibliography • National Geographic for Kids • www.kids.nationalgeographic.com • www.kids.discovery.com • www.kidzone.com • www.buzzle.com • www.Wikipedia.org