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Quick Facts
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species: maritimus

Height: 41 inches
Length: 96 - 138 inches
Weight: 660 - 1320 lbs
Gestation: 90 - 120 days
Offspring: 1 - 4
Life Span: 25 years
Top Speed (Ground): 25 mph
Top Speed (Water): 6 mph

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Polar Bear

Ursus maritimus


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 preyWhat does prey mean?. 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 densWhat does dens mean? 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 camouflagesWhat does camouflages mean? 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 predatorsWhat does predators mean? 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 predatorsWhat does predators mean?. 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 solitaryWhat does solitary mean? wanderers and only join together for a few days during the mating season.


Polar bears give birth to 1 to 4 cubs. They are born while the mother is hibernatingWhat does hibernating mean? 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 denWhat does den mean?. They will usually stay with the mother for 2-1/2 years.

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