When we think of the arctic, we think of penguins, seals, and of course, polar bears. While we’re no strangers to more than a few facts on these fascinating animals, here’s a list of 16 facts that’s sure to blow minds!
Polar bears don’t hibernate.
Here is one of the polar bear facts that might surprise some people. Unlike their brown or black brethren, polar bears don’t hibernate. Scientists figure that since their food source is available all year round, polar bears never developed the need to hibernate.
Polar bears are extremely fast.
Despite their large size, polar bears are extremely agile, being able to run speeds of around 40km/h. As if that weren’t scary enough, they’re even able to swim up to speeds of 10 km/h!
Polar bears are considered marine mammals.
Though people envision the polar bear as primarily a land predator, polar bears spend most of their time in the water. These sea bears can swim lengths of more than 100 kilometers without any rest!
Polar bears have an insane sense of smell.
It’s no secret that animals have a great sense of smell, but the polar bear is just plain superhuman, being able to smell prey from over a kilometer away!
Polar bears have a very particular style of hunting.
Given that their main source of food tends to be seals and the occasional bird egg, polar bear’s hunt by “still hunting.” Essentially, they wait for days waiting by seal breathing holes to snag one out of the water.
Only 2% of polar bear hunts are successful.
Despite all their evolutionary advantages, only 2% of polar bear hunts are ever successful. Though polar bears are fast in the water, their main prey, seals, are faster, making it all the more difficult for our favorite white predators.
Polar bears like to play with dogs.
Although we established how fierce these giant carnivores can be, they have a playful side too! Polar bears on the coast of Hudson Bay have been observed playing with chained sled dogs!
Polar Bears are the largest terrestrial carnivore.
There’s a reason why polar bears are apex predators in their natural habitats. More than just being the largest bears in the world, they are also the largest land carnivores, with males weighing as much as 1,320 pounds, with nose-to-tail lengths as long as 8 ft. 6 inches and standing heights of more than 10 feet!
Climate change isn’t the only thing that threatens polar bears.
While climate change is an issue for these mammals, that’s not the only thing that affects these giants. With oil and gas industries eyeing the arctic, these bears also face the very real possibility of ingesting poisonous chemicals as a result.
Polar bears are fatty eaters.
It is no surprise that polar bears need a certain amount of fat in other to survive the extreme cold, but a lesser-known fact is that they need around 2 kilograms of fat per day to survive. To put it into perspective, they need to eat an entire seal (at around 55 kg) for 8 days’ worth of energy.
Polar bears are also scavengers.
Despite their massive predatory advantages, we’ve established that polar bears are not often successful with their hunts. Adding to that, polar bears are also scavengers, feasting on walrus and whale carcasses.
Polar bear cubs are surprisingly light.
For such large creatures, the offspring of polar bears are surprisingly light. Polar bear cubs can weigh as little as 1.5 kg after birth!
Polar bears are sacred to the Inuit people.
Though the Inuit people do hunt polar bears for fur and meat, hunting is carefully regulated. More than just this, these bears are sacred to these people, being referred to by them as “Nanuk,” is believed to be wise, powerful, and “almost a man.”
Polar bear hybrids exist!
Just like lion-tiger hybrids (popularly known as ligers) exist, so do grizzly bear-polar bears! Often called “grolar bears,” these crossbreeds behave more like their aquatic counterparts.
Female polar bears fast for long periods.
Polar bears have the longest known records of fasting, which can range up to around 240 days! Post-birth, these mothers will then attempt to hunt to regain the fat reserves she lost during this period.
Polar bear cubs are “mama’s boys.”
Most polar bear cubs tend to stay with their mother until they are around 2 ½ years old with some staying as little as a year or even less. During this period, they are taught how to hunt alongside other much-needed survival skills.
Polar bears will go extinct by 2100.
If the current greenhouse trends continue, polar bears are estimated to be extinct by 2100. With their dwindling ice caps and prey, it is estimated that these bears will be sterile by as early as 2040 and in turn completely dying out by the start of the new century.
With these new fascinating facts in mind, we hope that action is taken to preserve these beautiful creatures. Efforts in conservation should be doubled to ensure the survival of this already dwindling species. With that in mind, we hope the readers have a new-found appreciation for these arctic beauties, as we, ourselves, have.