The polar bear is a fascinating animal that wanders along the Arctic Ocean through Norway, Russia, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. It is estimated that around 25.000 stayed in their natural habitat. These animals live in remote and isolated places, in small groups when they have a cub or when they mate, and increasingly face the number 1 threat: the man.
In Latin, his name is “Ursus maritimus,” which translates into the sea bear.
Although on average, it is about the size and weight of the Kodiak bear, the biggest hunted bear ever was a polar bear. That specimen was shot by hunter Arthur Dubbs from Medford, State of Oregon, in 1960, somewhere in the Kotzebue Strait in northeast Alaska.
The white giant weighed exactly 1002 kilos and lifted on the back feet measured 3,39 meters high. Obviously, the huge male shot down in 1960 was probably an exception, a giant of the species. Although polar bears do not reach comparable dimensions to this record specimen, they still remain imposing animals.
In height, the polar bears reach between 1 meter and 1.50 meters and the shoulder height is 1.22-to-1.60-meters, 4 ft to 5 ft 3 in.
The female polar bears are much smaller, reaching about half of the male height and weight. The polar bear is therefore the largest sexual dimorphism mammal in favor of males after the seal, sea elephant – this is the largest seal species in the world.
How tall is a polar bear standing up?
When the polar bear is lifting on the back feet it can reach up to 3 meters if not more.
Can’t find a name for your polar bear? Check out my list of 200 polar bear names.
On average the height of an adult polar bear standing up is 2,4 meters,7 ft 10 in, but many specimens can reach 3 meters, 9 ft 10 in, in total length.
How much does a polar bear weigh?
Adult males reach between 350–700-kilograms, 770–1,540 lb.
It’s huge in size. An adult polar bear will have an average weight of 450 kg, 1,000 lb. Female polar bears are smaller, they weigh on average only 150 to 250 kg, 330–550 lb.
This animal is a skillful swimmer, the fat layer in the body helps it float; it uses its feet to swish and its legs as a tiller. The longest polar bear swimming record was 687 kilometers in nine days without interruption.
It hunts and feeds mostly with seals, especially ringed seals or the bearded ones. It depends on the high-fat content they offer which provides it with the best source of calories but does not refuse, if necessary, seabirds or small whale carcasses.
From time to time, it feeds on other Arctic marine mammals, including whales, walrus, birds, or fish.
It is perfectly suited to the Arctic climate where the temperature drops to -45 degrees C. The polar bear is isolated with two layers of fur that give it warmth. In addition, the shape of the ears and the short tail prevent heat loss. After a swim in the frozen waters, all it has to do is shake hard and that’s it, its day can go on. It heats up quickly, so it can die because of heat rather than cold.
The polar bear is among the long-living animals. In the wild, it lives for about 15-18 years, but there are situations where biologists discovered that some polar bears were around 30 years old. In captivity, they generally live longer – over 30 years. One polar bear specimen from Canada has reached 42 years
Blind and toothless
Most polar bear cubs are born in December, are 30-35 centimeters, and weigh slightly more than half a kilo. They are blind, they have no teeth and they are covered with a short, soft fur. In their first two or three years of life, they are completely dependent on their mother who provides them with heat and food.
It travels a lot and far
To get food, the polar bear can travel hundreds of kilometers by land or swimming. A polar bear watched by GPS by the World Wildlife Fund traveled nearly 4000 kilometers from Norway to Russia in less than a year.
Who would expect this giant to be a good runner? It is a very good one, it reaches 40 km/hour. Armed with speed, terrible force, a formidable sense of smell, and a deadly bite, the polar bear is not intimidated by man’s presence on its territory and hunts him whenever it is offered the opportunity. Compared to other terrestrial mammals, it is known that the man is completely lacking the ability to run at high speed.
The polar bear is equipped with three eyelids, the third being designed to reduce the amount of UV radiation and protects it from snow blindness. Given where it lives, it is very useful to it.
A solitary specimen
The polar bear loves loneliness, although sometimes it has a desire to play and socialize with others. However, they prefer to spend more time alone, in isolated places.
To observe their behavior, scientists use boats, helicopters and other adapted aircraft, but only when the weather permits them and only in certain places. Recently, non-invasive satellite tracking devices are being used – which are cheaper than helicopters – and in this way, researchers can identify them in the most isolated places in the Arctic.
Although many believe polar bears and penguins are in the same areas – an idea generated by ads and images where they appear together – in reality, they never meet. They are in completely opposite places on the ground, even if they have something in common: they like frozen areas. The polar bear lives only in the Arctic while penguins can be found only in the southern hemisphere. Probably the only place in which they are close to each other is the zoo.
The polar bear was held in captivity by the 13th-century Europeans after the Vikings gave it as a gift to crowned heads. When Henry the IIIrd of England received a polar bear as a gift, he held it with a muzzle and a chain bound, but the animal was allowed to catch fish and swim in the Thames.
Through Polar bear International, the initiator of the International Day of Polar Bear, anyone can get more involved in projects aimed at protecting the polar bear in the wild. You can symbolically adopt a polar bear, and in return for the donation, the organization provides a certificate of adoption with the name of the donor, if he wishes, and, depending on the offered amount he also gets different products.