Polar bears; the largest of the carnivorous mammals are quite cuddly to look at. However, do not let that fool you. They are the apex predators. This means that they are at the top of their food chain.
Polar bears have always fascinated me. They undoubtedly are one of the sweetest looking animals but in reality, are really ferocious. They are majestic creatures of the North.
Does your little one want to know more about these creatures? In that case, we have made a list of the 11 amazing polar bear facts for kids that you can read out to your little one.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Polar Bears for Kids
Polar bears are unfortunately vulnerable as global warming is taking a toll on their population. They are huge and in size and survive in the harshest of the weather and have adapted themselves in the most amazing ways to be comfortable.
With that introduction out of the way, let us dive into the facts.
1. Polar bears are categorised as marine animals
You may be surprised to know that polar bears are the only species of bears that are categorised as marine animals. Why? Well, firstly, polar bears NEED the oceans and seas to survive.
A major part of their diet is meat from seals. Seals are the only animals that provide enough heat and meat for the polar bears to survive. This is why polar bears are called ‘marine’ animals.
2. The colour of the polar bears is actually not white
Yes, you read that right! These majestic white beasts are not really white in colour. Their skin is black in colour and the furs that cover their entire bodies are hollow. This allows the light to be reflected and hence, we see it as white!
Additionally, depending on their diet, the colours might vary too. Sometimes, if a polar bear consumes too many seals, due to the seal oil, its fur would appear yellow.
Sometimes, algae can start growing on their fur as well, and the fur may apply green.
3. They are great swimmers
This is another reason why polar bears are called marine animals. These animals can spend days swimming and not get tired. They can easily swim at 6.21 miles per hour.
Although polar bears do spend a lot of time swimming, they are not able to catch seals while they are swimming. For this reason, polar bears patiently wait near small holes on the ice. Seals come up for oxygen and if they are unlucky enough, a polar bear will catch them.
Did you know that Arctic foxes stealthily follow polar bears so that they can feed on the leftover prey by the bears? To know more about Arctic Foxes, check out our article 11 Amazing Arctic Fox Facts for Kids
4. Life can be difficult as food is quite scarce
We have already mentioned how difficult it is for polar bears to catch seals even though seals give them the right nutrition and fat required to warm their bodies.
Life in the harsh icy weather can be very tough and food can be scarce too. Although polar bears usually do not hibernate, pregnant female bears do spend time in the den from October or November through March or April.
This is to protect the small cubs from the harsh weather as when they are born, they are extremely weak and helpless. The mother in the den will not eat anything throughout these months and the fat stored in her body is sufficient to take care of her and keep the cubs warm.
5. Polar bears have a great sense of smell
Polar bears have been gifted with an incredible sense of smell. As a result, they can sniff out their favourite food; seals.
And when we say incredible sense of smell, we mean it. Be the judge yourself. Polar bears can easily sniff out a seal from about 9.94 miles! Isn’t that absolutely incredible!
Additionally, polar bears can also sniff out Arctic wolves as occasionally, they might prey upon these wolves.
In case you want to know more about Arctic Wolves, you can check out our article on them here- 11 Amazing Arctic Wolf Facts for Kids
6. Polar bears are the largest living carnivore on the face of Earth
We all now know that polar bears are carnivorous animals. This means that these big bears eat the meat of other animals to survive. But did you know how big they are?
Polar bears can be well over 2 metres in length and weigh around 1499 pounds! That effectively means that they are the largest living carnivores on Earth!
7. Polar bears will touch noses to ask for food
We have already mentioned previously that food can be extremely scarce in the Arctic. This means that often polar bears end up being hungry.
However, it looks like these animals have a unique way of sharing, or more like asking for food. If one polar bear is feeding on a prey and another hungry polar bear comes along, the hungry bear will ask for permission to share the food.
It will first slowly circle the other bear. Then it will get closer and touch its nose to the other bear’s nose as a sign of asking for permission to share! Looks like these animals can teach us a bit about manners.
8. These bears are non-territorial
In the Arctic, claiming land can be quite a challenge considering how the land can melt off at any time! As a result, polar bears are not territorial by nature at all. They do not roam around claiming lands or their own territories, unlike wolves or lions.
Instead, polar bears can have a home area that is often shared and overlaps with the home areas of other polar bears.
9. They are very well adapted for the harsh weather of their habitat
Now, the harsh icy weather of the Arctic means that the polar bears need to be adapted in the best way possible to survive it.
As a result, polar bears have thick fur covering their entire body. This is followed by a layer of fat called blubber that keeps their body warm. They also have black skin that absorbs the sun and keep them warm.
10. The baby bears can stay with the mothers for up to 2 years
The bear cubs can live with the mother bears for 2 years. As mentioned earlier, these cubs need help as they are small and helpless. They are as small as 30 centimetres.
These 2 years are necessary for them to learn all that is there to learn from their mother in order to survive in the Arctic weather.
11. Climate change is a major threat to them
Unfortunately, these animals are probably the one most adversely affected animal due to climate change. Global warming is a severe issue that is leading to the ice melting off at the Arctic faster.
This means that polar bears have fewer territories to hunt and even live in. Hopefully, the situation of climate change will be controlled in time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Polar bears are found in the Arctic on open ice and a pregnant polar bear lives in a den for a few months.
Polar bears can live up to 25 to 30 years in the wild.
Polar bears can be well over 2 metres in length and weigh around 1499 pounds.
The scientific name of the polar bear is Ursus maritimus.
A group of polar bears is called a celebration.
The babies of polar bears are called cubs.
One polar bear will usually give birth to two cubs, and sometimes three or four.
Polar bears are carnivores and feed on meat of other animals, especially seals and penguins, sometimes, arctic wolves.
Polar bears can eat almost 86 penguins in one sitting.
In one sitting, a polar bear can eat 150 pounds of meat.
Unfortunately, in case of a shortage of food, polar bears can turn to eat their own cubs.
Polar bears are found in north of the Arctic Circle, Canada, Alaska, and Greenland and in some islands of Norway.
Polar bears have thick fur covering their body with an extra layer of fat and they have black skin that absorbs heat from the sun. Additionally, they eat seals that help them stay warm.
Yes, polar bears have an additional layer of fat under their fur called blubber.
No, the body of polar bears are made for icy weather and cannot survive in warm climates.
No, polar bears are solitary animals but if they come across a large prey, they might come together to eat it.
The skin of the polar bears is black and they have transparent fur which reflects the light and we see them as white.
Not really. They do not change colours but due to their diet, their fur might have different colours. For example, if a polar bear is eating a lot of seals, it will have a yellowish hue due to the oils from the seals. Sometimes, they might have algae growing on them and might appear green.
A polar bear standing up can be as tall as 10 feet although the tallest recorded was in Alaska in 1960 and it was 12 feet.
Baby polar bears, at birth, weigh only 1.5 pounds.
Polar bears are extraordinarily strong with a bite force of 1200 pounds per square inch
Polar bears, like the other bears, normally walk on four limbs and sometimes on two legs.
Polar bears have big feet because they need protection from the harsh weather of the Arctic. They are covered with furs and pads and that adds to the size of the feet.
Polar bears can be as fast as 24.85 miles per hour.
Polar bears can sniff out prey from as far as 9.94 miles.
Polar bears can swim as fast as 6 miles per hour.
Although the maximum duration is unknown, the recorded maximum time that a polar bear is underwater was 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
No, polar bears are not friendly to humans; they are ferocious animals.
Polar bears play in the snow and swim in the waters for fun.
Adult polar bears do not have any natural predators.
While not endangered, polar bears are categorised as vulnerable, as their population is decreasing.
Polar bears are the apex predators and are necessary for the overall health of the marine environment.
That is it, folks! You have come to the end of the article, ’11 Amazing Polar Bear Facts for Kids.’ Hopefully, you and your little one enjoyed learning about these majestic beasts. Polar bears are unfortunately suffering due to climate change and we can only hope for the best.