Polar bears are the best. And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re already a fan. Regardless of your affinity for these incredible animals, there’s always more to learn.
Today marks the beginning of Polar Bear Week, and to celebrate the occasion we’ve tracked down five new facts about Ursus maritimus. Ready to brush up on some trivia?
1. Polar bears wag their heads when it’s time to play
Polar bears communicate through body language, and will often wag their heads from side to side to signal that it’s time to play. Playtime is ritualistic of mock fighting, and the perfect opportunity for polar bears to brush up on their best moves. To initiate play, polar bears will stand up on their hind legs with their front paws at their sides and chins lowered to their chest.
Eight years ago, Debbie Salamone was attacked by a shark in the shallow waters of Florida’s Cape Canaveral National Seashore. The shark severed her Achilles tendon and led her to question her two-decade career as an environmental reporter.
After surgery and months of recovery, she came to realize that if she loved the ocean, she had to love everything in it – even sharks.
Sharks play an important role in the ocean ecosystem, Salamone explains. Removing these top predators – whether through overfishing or harmful practices like shark-finning – can have dire consequences that ripple throughout the ecosystem.
“I realized my unique position: Who could better speak up for sharks than myself and people like me?” she says.