polar bear animal of the week

Polar Bears! The Almighty Arctic Ambassador!

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Greetings Defenders! We’ve got another apex predator for our Animal of the Week, and this one loves it nice and cold. That’s right, it’s the classic Polar Bear! One of the largest species of bear on the planet, the Polar Bear is a hypercarnivore. Adult males are known as “boars” while females are known as “sows”. Females will give birth to one or two pups per litter, and usually five litters in a lifetime. Polar Bears also hold the title of the only bear that is also a marine mammal because of how much they live on sea ice. Polar Bears are also one of the main animal representatives of climate change because of how much that effects their survival as a species.

Do They Live In The North or South Pole?

Many people are often confused on where to find these huge mammals. There are two frozen icy tundras on the top or bottom of the earth and people think they inhabit both. Well the way to remember is knowing the difference between the Arctic Circle and Antarctica. The Arctic Circle is located near the north pole, and this is where Polar Bears are found in the wild. Antarctica is located near the south pole, and that’s where many species of Penguin are found.

Do Polar Bears Attack Humans?

Polar Bear attacks on humans are very rare. On average there are only 1 – 3 recorded attacks each year. However, there has been evidence of attacks increasing because of two primary factors. First, humans have been working more in polar bear country, and if more humans are in their territory than usual, then more attacks might occur. Secondly, as climate change melts more sea ice, polar bears lose their habitat. While attacks are still rare there are some helpful tips to avoid an incident if you’re visiting the arctic region. Try and minimize things that might attract them, like foods with strong odors. Keep pepper spray as well, as this is 98% effective in a polar bear attack and is nonlethal. Finally, travel in a group of at least two and stay together if a bear approaches.

Are Polar Bears Endangered?

Due to climate change melting the sea ice, the natural habitat of polar bears has significantly decreased over the years. This directly affects their wild status. While they are not endangered as of now, they are currently listed as a Vulnerable, one step away from becoming endangered. In addition to the overall loss of their habitat, climate change makes it harder for polar bears to hunt for their favorite food, seals. This also makes it difficult for pregnant females to create suitable dens for housing cubs, and causes parents to grow skinnier and weaker as they have to work harder and harder for food & shelter.

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How Tall Are They When They Stand?

Polar Bears are the largest bear species on the planet, tied with the Kodiak Bear at roughly the same size. Adult males can grow to great proportions, possibly reaching 10 feet tall when standing on their hind legs. They can also weigh up to 1,500 pounds with the largest specimen recorded weighing over 2,000 pounds. Females are roughly half the size of adult males, weighing around 600 pounds on average and only reaching 6 – 8 feet.

What Do They Like To Eat?

While all bears are carnivores or omnivores, these massive mammals are the most carnivorous of the bunch. They are effectively “hypercarnivores” meaning more than 70% of their diet is meat. The primary prey for them is various seal species like ringed seals, harp seals, and even bearded seals. Polar Bears mainly hunt seals at areas where the ice and water connect. They rarely catch them directly in the water or on land. Many adults eat the skin and blubber of a seal, while younger individuals enjoy the red meat filled with the protein they need to grow strong.

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