Polar Bear Facts



  • Apart from pregnant females, which spend the winter in dens where they give birth, polar bears are active all through the winter months, often traveling great distances in search of food.
  • The polar bear is the only bear which is almost exclusively a meat-eater, other bears eat plants too.
  • While stalking a seal, a polar bear will sometimes lie on its chest with its front legs trailing at its sides and its rump in the air, pushing itself forward with its rear legs.
  • Polar bears can detect the scent of seal pups that are in dens buried 1 m deep in snow.
  • Lying in ambush for a seal, a polar bear will sometimes cover its black nose with its paws to remain unseen against the snow and ice.
  • Polar bears have a number of tiny protrusions and suction pads on the soles of their feet to give them a firm grip on the ice.
  • The most southerly place that polar bears regularly visit is James Bay in Canada, which is on the same line of latitude as London.
  • Female polar bears can put on as much as 400 kg in weight in the course of their summer feeding binge on seal cubs.
  • The polar bear is a powerful swimmer, even though it uses only its front paws as paddles, letting its rear legs trail behind.
  • Beneath its thick white fur, a polar bear’s skin is black. Translucent (semitransparent) hairs channel heat from the sun to the animal’s skin, which absorbs the heat.
  • Outside the breeding season, polar bears are normally solitary animals
  • Female polar bears may go without eating for up to 8 months – existing solely on their body fat – while overwintering and feeding their newly born young.