Polar bear anatomy is completely adapted to the environment in which it lives. A sturdy body, strong muscular legs, and large neck muscles help it survive. It has very large feet with a small amount of webbing between the toes, which makes it a powerful swimmer. A polar bear can swim 60 miles without pausing to rest.
At an average speed of 6 miles per hour, that is 10 hours of constant swimming. It can dive to a depth of 15 feet and stay under for 2 minutes or so. When under water, its nose and ears close up but the eyes stay open to search for prey. It has also been observed jumping 7-8 feet out of the water to catch a seal.
The bottom of its paw is covered with dense fur, providing more traction when they are walking on ice. The front legs are very muscular and enable it to break into seal dens or flip seals out of the water. Its stomach capacity is very large and enables it to take advantage of large meals when it can. If necessary, it can go for weeks without food.
Its coat color ranges from white to a yellowish white, which camouflages the hunter. The fur itself is composed of two layers. One layer is a fine, white hair and the other is a layer of guard hairs. These hairs are hollow and help keep the polar bear buoyant. Its skin is black, making it so efficient at heat retention that it does not show up on infrared scanners.
The polar bear is almost exclusively a meat eater. Its most common meal is the seal though it will eat any meat source it can.
These he predators are found in the Polar Regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are generally found where the northern seas meet the shoreline. The constant process of freezing and thawing provides an abundance of little streams that provide water.
The primary causes of death are disease, injury, and starvation, since they have no natural predators. Due to the harsh environment in which it lives, it must learn very quickly how to provide for itself or it will die shortly after leaving its mother.
Polar bears are not territorial, so it is not unusual for several bears to share the same territory. They wander all the time in search of food and cover immense distances. For the most part, they are solitary wanderers and only join together for a few days during the mating season.
Birth & Offspring
Polar bears give birth to 1 to 4 cubs. They are born while the mother is hibernating and are tiny, blind, and hairless. However, they are able to suckle. At birth, they weigh 21 to 25 ounces. Due to the mothers fat enriched milk (40% fat), they weigh 20 to 30 pounds at 3 or 4 months and are able to follow their mother when she leaves the den. They will usually stay with the mother for 2-1/2 years.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.