10 Characteristics of POLAR BEARS

Polar bears are the largest land carnivores in the world., which can only compete with the Kodiak brown bears of Southwest Alaska. Polar bears are at the top of the food chain in the biologically rich Arctic. The most carnivorous of the bear species, polar bears feed primarily on the blubber of ice-dependent seals. The remains of these seals provide food for many other species of Arctic wildlife, giving polar bears a vital role in their ecosystem.

The polar bears are marine mammals, and they spend much of their time on the Arctic sea ice. Many adaptations make polar bears uniquely suited to life in icy habitats. Their fur is thicker than any other bear and even covers their feet for warmth and traction on ice. A thick layer of fat under their fur provides buoyancy and insulation. The polar bear's long neck and narrow skull probably help streamline the animal in the water while warming the air it breathes, and its front legs are large, flat, and paddle-like, making them excellent swimmers.

characteristics of polar bears

Physical characteristics of polar bears

  1. He polar bear fur It is made up of a dense, insulating coat topped by guard hairs that vary in length. The fur prevents almost all heat loss; in fact, adult males can quickly overheat when running. And surprisingly, the skin isn't really white, it just looks that way. Each hair shaft is pigment-free and transparent, with a hollow core that scatters and reflects visible light, just like ice and snow. Polar bears have a complete coat, except for the nose and paw pads. The fur of a polar bear is approximately 2.5 to 5 cm. Of thickness. A dense, woolly, insulating undercoat is covered by a relatively thin layer of stiff, glossy, hollow guard hairs. The guard hairs can measure up to 15 cm.
    Although truly translucent, the hairs appear white due to their highly reflective quality. Oxidation from the sun, or staining, can cause hairs to appear yellow or brown.
  2. The polar bears they look whiter when clean and in high angle sunlight, especially just after the molting period, which usually begins in spring and is complete by late summer. Before molting, accumulated oils in the fur of eating seals can cause them to appear yellow.
  3. Polar Bear Paws are ideal for roaming the Arctic. They are up to 30 centimeters wide, to help polar bears tread on thin ice. When the ice is very thin, bears spread their legs wide apart and lower their bodies to distribute their weight. Polar bear paws are not designed to help only on land. When swimming, the bear's front legs act as large paddles, and its hind legs serve as rudders. The black pads on the underside of each paw are covered by small, smooth bumps known as papillae. The papillae grip the ice and prevent the bear from slipping. The tufts of skin between the toes and the foot pads can also help with security. How can his claws. Thick, curved, sharp and strong - each one measures over five centimeters (1.97 inches) long. Polar bears use their claws to catch and hold prey and to gain traction on the ice.
  4. Adult males usually weigh 350 to more than 600 kilograms. Adult females are smaller, typically weighing from 150 to 290 kilograms. Researchers in Canada estimated that a male bear weighed 800 kilograms!
  5. The head of a polar bear is oblong and relatively small. compared to body size. The muzzle is elongated with a "Roman-nosed" (slightly arched) muzzle. The nose is wide and black.

  6. To keep them warm, polar bears they have black skin over a thick layer of fat which can measure up to 11.4 centimeters. In the water, they rely more on their blubber layer to keep them warm; Wet skin is a poor insulator. This is why mother bears are reluctant to swim with young cubs in the spring: the cubs just don't have enough fat.
  7. Their skin isn't the only thing that works to keep them warm: their ears are small and round, and their tails are short and compact, to conserve as much heat as possible.
  8. Polar bear fur is oily and water repellent.. The hairs do not mat when wet, allowing polar bears to shake off easily without any water or ice that can form after swimming. Ice forms when wet fur is exposed to air temperatures at or below freezing. Polar bears completely moult (shed and replace their fur) annually, in May or June. Molting can last several weeks.
  9. The tail is small, about 7 to 12 cm long.
  10. Polar bears have 42 teeth., which they use to catch food and for aggressive behavior. Polar bears use their incisors to cut off pieces of fat and meat. The canine teeth grip prey and tear through tough hides. The jagged premolars and molars are torn and chewed. Polar bears swallow most food in large chunks rather than chew it.

Other interesting facts about polar bears


The World Conservation Union (IUCN) estimates that there are between 20,000 and 25,000 polar bears in the world.


Polar bears rely heavily on ice from the oldest stables in the Arctic region, where they spend much of their time hunting, mating, and icing. They are generally solitary as adults, except during breeding and rearing pups. Polar bears are strong swimmers, and individuals have been seen in open arctic waters up to 200 miles from land, although swimming long distances is not preferable, as it requires a lot of energy for adults and can be fatal for younger bears. .

Unlike brown bears, non-breeding males and females do not hibernate in the winter.


Polar bears are only found in the Arctic. The most important habitats for polar bears are the edges of the ice sheet where currents and wind interact, forming a continuous melting and melting matrix of ice patches and ice rinks (open spaces in the ocean between sea ice). These are the areas where polar bears can find the greatest numbers of seals.

As the sea ice advances and retreats each season, individual polar bears can travel thousands of miles per year to find food. Polar bears are distributed in the Arctic region in 19 subpopulations, including Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.


Pregnant polar bears need to eat a lot in the summer and fall build up enough fat reserves to survive the observation period. They look for maternity homes in October or November. Most maternity homes are located on snow-packed terrain, including along coastal bluffs, river banks, or sea ice pressure ridges. Sows usually give birth to 1 or 2 one pound cubs and then care for them until they are around 20-30 pounds before leaving the den in March or April. The young are born from November to January, while the mothers hibernate. The cubs will remain with their mothers for just over 2 years. Female polar bears can produce five litters in their lifetime, which is one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal.


Polar bears feed almost exclusively on ringed seals and bearded seals. They have also been known to eat walrus, beluga and riverhead whale carcasses, bird eggs and (rarely) vegetation. Polar bears travel great distances in search of prey.

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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2023) 10 Characteristics of POLAR BEARS, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-polar-bears/ (Consultado el: 26-09-2023)

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