We love polar bears! And, when we saw that today was International Polar Bear Day—we jumped for joy. While you sit here reading this fascinating blog, polar bear moms are busy caring for their newborn cubs in their Arctic dens.
If you didn’t love these Arctic bears enough already, we’re giving you six more reasons to love them. Join us in celebrating polar bears today!
1. Polar bears have special padding on their feet to prevent slipping on ice.
These bears are well-equipped to handle the slippery Arctic sea ice. Not only are their paws covered with fur, but their feet are also covered with small bumps called papillae. These bumps help create traction for polar bears on the move. Without the help of papillae, polar bears would be pretty clumsy.
2. Polar bear moms don’t really hibernate.
Instead of truly hibernating, polar bear mothers reside in dens to care for and protect their newborn cubs. This usually happens between January and March each year. Mothers go this entire time without food or water. With the warmth of spring, the new families emerge from their dens in search of food together. Talk about dedication!
3. The largest polar bear ever recorded was a male weighing 2,209 pounds!
Male polar bears typically weigh around 1,000 pounds. Females weigh about half of the typical weight of a male polar bear. That means the largest recorded polar bear was more than double the average weight of an adult male polar bear. This giant bear weighed about as much as a Volkswagen Beetle!
4. Polar bears can slow down their own metabolism.
Polar bears’ diets are rich in fat. If an adult polar bear doesn’t eat for ten days, it can reduce the speed of its metabolism to survive. The reduction in metabolism allows polar bears to use their fat reserves until they can find their next meal. This trait comes in handy considering food can be hard to come by in the Arctic.
5. Polar bears have an incredible sense of smell.
Skilled at hunting, polar bears use their keen smell to locate prey. A polar bear can sniff out a seal on the ice up to 20 miles away. That’s right, 20 miles. That’s like smelling your lunch across the entire city of Austin, Texas.
6. Polar bears need to play in the snow.
Polar bears use snow and Arctic ice as a tool to get rid of debris in their fur and to keep themselves dry and buoyant. Polar bears need to roll around in the snow to keep their fur clean and fluffy. Polar bears actually have transparent hair, and the hollow core of each hair strand also helps polar bears’ buoyancy. Playing in the snow looks like a lot more fun though!
These are just a few of the many reasons to celebrate and adore these amazing marine mammals! See more fun photos of polar bears and all other kinds of ocean critters by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Happy International Polar Bear Day!