Polar Bear Information
wildlife
 

Polar Bear Information


Polar bear information – scientific classification
Kingdom:      Animalia
Phylum:         Chordata
Class:            Mammalia
Order:           Carnivora
Family:          Ursidae
Genus:           Ursus
Species:         Ursus maritimus

Polar bear information – common names
Polar bear, Northern bear, White bear, Sea bear

Polar bear information – graphical range and habitat
The polar bear is a circumpolar arctic species, which means that it inhabits the region around the North Pole. The southern limit of the polar bear range is determined by the dynamic pack ice, and the southernmost polar bear population is found in James Bay, Canada. North of 88 degrees, you will find few polar bears, but polar bears do seem to occur all the way across the Arctic. The polar bear does however prefer to stay close to the Arctic Ocean where it can hunt seals. The polar bear is a capable swimmer and can embark on hunting excursions in the icy cold water. The polar bear habitat is spread over five different nations: Russia, USA (Alaska), Canada, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway (Svalbard archipelago).

Polar bear information – size and description
The polar bear is the largest predator on land. A male polar bear can grow up to 2.5 - 3 meters (8 - 10 feet) in height as an adult, and weigh 250 to 770 kilograms (550 to 1,700 pounds). The female polar bears tend to stay smaller, and usually grow up to1.8 - 2.5 meters (6 - 8 feet) tall and weigh from 90 to 320 kilograms (200 to 700 pounds).

Unlike its relatives, the brown bears, the polar bear has a white coat that makes it blend in well with the icy landscape. The polar bear does not have to fear any predators, so it does not need to stay camouflaged to avoid being attacked. The white camouflaging coat is instead handy when the polar bear sneaks up on prey and perform surprise attacks. A brown bear would be much easier for the prey to discover.  

Polar bear information – diet
The polar bear is a much stricter carnivore than the other bear species, since herbivore foods are difficult to obtain on the pack ice. The polar bear feeds chiefly on seals, particularly the Ringed Seals. The Ringed Seals create openings in the ice since they regularly need to surface to breathe air, and when they turn up the polar bear is there to catch them.

The polar bear is an opportunistic feeder, and in addition to seals it will happily feed on almost any other animal it can catch. Sea food like shellfish, crabs, walrus calves and beluga whales are combined with landliving rodents, birds, caribou and even musk oxen. The polar bear is the bear species most likely to view humans as suitable prey, and they will sometimes also engage in cannibalism (feeding on other polar bears and humans is however rare). The polar bear will also eat carcasses from any species. This scavenging habit has made many polar bears that live close to human settlements fond of garbage dumps. Arctic explorers can also attract polar bears by leaving garbage around.

The polar bear is a capable swimmer and it can also run fast on land. Polar bears can bee found in open waters several miles from any land, and outrunning a human on land is no problem for the polar bear. Catching musk oxen and caribou is however difficult for the polar bear, since these animals are much less prone to overheating than the polar bear. The polar bear must therefore make a fast surprise attack if it wants to catch prey. Following a running animal for any longer period of time will overheat the polar bear.

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