Polar Bear Info


Polar Bear Info – The Other White Bear!

Facts About The Endangered Arctic Polar Bear

What They Eat And Where They Sleep In Their Habitat



Facts About The Endangered Arctic Polar Bear. What They Eat And Where They Sleep In Their Habitat


There are a lot of questions pertaining to the polar bear. Just as an example here are some of the more common questions people ask about polar bears.

Like, do polar bears hibernate? Or, where do polar bears live? Do they eat Penguins? Are polar bears endangered? How many polar bears are there? What is the polar bear’s scientific name and classification is a good question? So is how big are polar bears? Or how do polar bears survive in the endangered arctic environment?





Polar bears need solid sea ice to reach their prey. Without the ice, there will be no polar bears. © Brendan Cummings


Some want to know if the polar bear has any predators? The only predator of the Polar bear is the white man. Enough said.


One of the most commonly asked questions is, what do polar bears eat? Or. what is the polar bear’s place in the food chain? And what is a polar bear’s life span? Some want to know how many cubs do female bears have? Others ask about when and where are the cubs born? Or what do newborn cubs look like?

When the family does emerge from the den, how long do the cubs remain with their mother? Are there different populations of polar bears? Or are you merely curious why the polar bear, Ursus maritimus, is classified a marine mammal?






© Dr. Steven C. Amstrup


In an attempt to answer all those questions, we’ll start off at the top of the food chain in the Arctic, the male Polar Bear. He weighs in at 750 -1200 lbs. The biggest Polar bear ever weighed over two thousand two hundred pounds. The females are normally around 330 – 650 lbs, and can go into a pseudo hibernation, easily weighing twice that much just from eating mostly seal meat. Penguins live only in the south pole. So, no, Polar bears don’t eat penguins.


The females usually have two cubs. Although, depending on her health and the health of the environment, they can also have just one, or triplets. Lately they have been only having one or none as their environment has become more critically endangered.


The cubs will then spend the next two and a half years learning how to exist in their environments


Approximately 60% of Polar bears are found in Canada, the USA (Alaska),

Greenland, Norway, and Russia. In the four different ice regions of the Arctic 19 different species have been identified.


The Ringed seal is their primary food source. But a beached whale means a feast! © Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures


Experts think that the Polar bears are endangered. They also think that the Arctic bear is continuing to disappear, and two thirds of all Polar bears will be extinct by the middle of the century.


How many polar bears, or sea bears, scientifically known as Ursus Maritimus are there left? Some say estimates of only between 20 to 25 thousand remain.

Polar bears love the arctic. In fact they have more trouble overheating that getting too cold. They can easily romp in minus 45 degree weather and have two layers of fur to keep them warm plus a good layer of fat. They have a powerful sense of smell and can haul a two hundred pound seal from the sea with ease.


In their habitat, polar bears live an average 15 to 18 years of age. Even though some have found tagged bears in their thirties.



Dick & Val Beck/Polar Bears International.


If you’re curios when the cubs are born, its in November or December in snow caves. Females that have mated, will begin digging a den in late October or early November. Most will choose den sites in snowdrifts along mountain slopes or hills near the oceans shore.


Newborn polar cubs look like a big, white rat. At birth, the cubs are12 to 14 inches long, and weigh about one pound. They are both blind and toothless, and are covered with a short, soft fur. They are completely dependent on their mother for warmth and food to keep them alive. The cubs, called coys, for Cubs Of the Year will come out in March and April. The cubs will grow rapidly, given that the calories in their mother’s milk is about 31% fat.


During this time the females live off of their fat reserves, but they don’t hibernate. True hibernators will experience a significant drop in both heart rate and body temperature and will generally stay for a longer period in a den. All adult males and non-pregnant females will not den up at all.

The polar bears have a somewhat slow and slightly pigeon-toed gait.

© Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures



Polar bears walk about three or four miles per hour. Females with small cubs go two to three mph. They are well known for their slow, yet plodding gait. They are also able to run as fast as a horse (about 30mph) over short distances, but they prefer to take their time.


Polar bears also have a number of different vocalizations and sound to express a great many communications to each other. When a polar bear wants to play they wag their heads from side to side. What you might know as an Eskimo kiss. Rubbing nose to nose, is a way for one bear to ask another about the whereabouts of food. Before another bear takes another bears food, he will walk in a circle and gently touch the resident bears nose. If he uses good manners, he can usually share in the feast.


As a response to stresses, the polar bear will make a chuffing sound. Especially if she is afraid for her cubs. Mother polar bears will scold their cubs with a low growl or soft chuff. To signify aggression, there’s a lot of snorting and hissing going on. In defense of a food source, the polar bear will bring out deep growls.

The cubs make a lot of hums and cries and groans like human children when communicating with a parent.



A nice bath in the snow will keep those winter whites clean. © Kt Miller


After feeding for twenty to thirty minutes in the summertime a polar bear will head for the water to cleanse themselves. In the winter they will use snow to clean themselves instead of water. Mother polar bears of course will lick their cubs clean. Cubs will also lick themselves and each other clean.



Polar bears are built for cold and adapt to the arctic environment easily.


Status of Polar bears today:

Photo copyright Andrew Fore/Polar Bears International.


The sad news is, no one can stop global warming. Back in 1978, it was said by The Club of Rome, that if the world did not stop using fossil fuels, it would be our ultimate demise. They used an analogy of a snowball rolling downhill. Getting bigger and faster as it went. And by 1978, if you did not stop it, it would be rolling so much faster and so much larger, that you never could. Sorry!

Polar Bears International photo.


Bears have been know by many names and by many cultures through time.


Ursus maritimus is the scientific or Latin name given to the Polar bear, but I grew up knowing it as Nanook of the North. So called by The Inuit Peoples. The Norwegian and Danes call the Sea Bear or Ice Bear, Isbjorn. White bear. Lord of the Arctic. Even,Old man in a fur cloak and White sea deer are included in the list.


These are just some of the names for polar bears. The Ket, a Siberian tribe, were known to revere all the bears. They call them gyp, or grandfather, or Qoi, stepfather. The bear was family. On Greenland’s east side, the polar bear is known as Tornassuk, “the master of helping spirits.” The Lapp people will not speak the polar bear’s name for fear of offending him. Instead they would call him God’s Dog, or The Old Man In The Fur Coat.


These names were developed by many tribes over hundreds of thousands of years. It took us only a hundred years to destroy their habitat, and ours at the same time. It’s not about ecologically saving the Polar bears anymore. It’s about saving ourselves. Thanks.


Harreson Waymen




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