Thursday, September 05, 2013

Polar Bear Facts for Kids

Where do polar bears live?
Polar bears live In the Arctic in areas where they can hunt seals at openings in the sea ice called leads. There are five nations with polar bears: U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway. Polar bears do not live in Antarctica. Penguins do.

Are polar bears endangered?
Experts in polar bear science believe they are. They predict that as the Arctic continues to warm due to climate change, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear by mid-century—although hope remains if action is taken to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Rapid loss of sea ice is their major threat. Others include pollution, poaching, and industrial impact. Hunting will become a threat if not well regulated.
In May 2008, U.S. Department of the Interior listed the polar bear as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act.

How many polar bears are there?
Scientists can only provide informed estimates. In 2008, scientists estimated that there might be 20,000 to 25,000 of them.

How big are polar bears?
Very big! Adult males normally weigh 351 to more than 544 kilograms (775 to 1,200 pounds). Adult females are smaller, normally weighing 150 to 295 kilograms (330 to 650 pounds). The largest polar bear ever recorded was a male weighing 2,209 pounds. Wow!
Scientists usually refer to how tall bears are by measuring them at the shoulder when on all fours. Those heights are typically 3.5-5 feet for adult polar bears, both male and female. An adult male may reach over 10 feet when standing on its hind legs.

How do polar bears survive in the arctic environment?
They're built for it! Polar bears love the arctic climate, where winter temperatures can plunge to -45º C (-50º F). Polar bears are insulated by two layers of fur that help keep them warm. They also have a thick fat layer. In addition, their compact ears and small tail also prevent heat loss. In fact, polar bears have more problems with overheating than they do from the cold—especially when they run.
Polar bear feet are furred and covered with small bumps called papillae to keep them from slipping on ice. Their sense of smell is powerful for detecting seals. And their powerful claws can haul out a 40-90 kg (150-200 lb) seal from the water for dinner.

What do polar bears eat?
Polar bears have evolved to feed on seals, specifically seal fat, the highest calorie food source possible. The bears prey on both ringed and bearded seals. Ringed seals, which are smaller, are the most accessible, especially to younger bears and females. Male polar bears also hunt bearded seals, which are larger. When hunting is good, polar bears eat only the blubber in order to build up the fat reserves they need to sustain themselves between meals. They leave the carcass for scavengers, such as arctic foxes, ravens, and younger bears.
All the other foods that polar bears may eat are things they find by chance. Most of these foods, with the exception of beached whales, don't provide enough calories to sustain the polar bear's massive body size or to build up the bear's own fat reserves.

What is the polar bear's place in the food chain?
Right at the top of the arctic food chain. Polar bears balance nature by preventing an overpopulation of seals.

What is a polar bear's life span?
In human terms, not very long. In the wild, polar bears live an average 15 to 18 years, although biologists have tagged a few bears in their early 30s. In captivity, they may live until their mid- to late 30s. Debby, a zoo bear in Canada, lived to be 42.

How many cubs do female bears have?
are most common, but they can bear singlets or triplets depending on their condition. They give birth to their first litter when they are between four and eight years old—most frequently at five or six. Polar bears have the one of the slowest reproductive rates of any mammal, typically producing only five litters in their lifetime.

When and where are the cubs born?
In November or December in snow caves called maternity dens. After feeding heavily in April or May, females that have mated dig a den in late October or early November. Most choose den sites in snowdrifts along mountain slopes or hills near the shore. Some dig their dens in snowdrifts on the sea ice.

What do newborn cubs look like?
Like a big, white rat. At birth, cubs are 30 to 35 centimeters (12 to 14 inches) long and weigh little more than half a kilogram (about one pound). They are blind, toothless, and covered with short, soft fur. They are completely dependent on their mother for warmth and food.

When does the family emerge from the den?
In March or April. During her time in the den, the mother does not eat, drink, or defecate. Cubs grow rapidly, thanks to the calories in their mother's rich milk, which is about 31% fat. In their first year of life, cubs are called coys, which stands for cubs of the year.

How long do the cubs remain with their mother?
Until they're about 2-1/2 years old—although some bears in the Hudson Bay area wean their young at age 1-1/2. During this time with mom, they learn how to hunt and survive in one of the earth's harshest environments. Between the time they leave their mother and they are mature enough to mate, they are called subadults.

Do polar bears hibernate?
Not in the strict sense of the word. True hibernators experience a marked drop in heart rate and body temperature and generally stay for a long period in a den. Polar bears instead enter a state of walking hibernation where their metabolism slows. Only pregnant polar bears enter a den, give birth, and emerge three months later.

Are there different populations of polar bears?
Yes. Scientists recognize 19 distinct populations of polar bears, but no subspecies.

Does the polar bear have any predators?
Only humans, and on rare occasions, other polar bears. Scientists believe that food stress is increasing acts of cannibalism, which.


  1. aunt Jeannie , thank you for the facts on polar bears I can add them to the ones I have mama said we need all the help we can get I hope a lot of people there is trying to help the bears and a lot of kids one of mama group told us grown up listen to us moore . we are kids and they are surpise we know so much we told her this planet will one day belong to us and we have the start telling silly grown ups now my brothers and sister and cousin say they send you love and will write you soon they go middle school now .
    aunt Jeannie Man go to school I ask my teacher can I check on him she say yes , he is being a good boy Sha Sherlyn Man and me have lunch and daddy pick him up , mama is working daddy and poppa keep us . Man can count to 20 but he forgets 13 he can say his abc and he has homework poppa help him they have funny pictures and they can not color in the lines they stop all the time to get a cookie poppa is so funny . we will write and tell you about how much work we have Jonny and Chris have more now .
    Love to you aunt Jeannie from all the Cubs abw love you very much look up and see a pretty cloud dropin gumdrops to you love you very much .

  2. Hello Crusader.
    It is so nice to hear from you. You are most welcome. You can always use a few more facts on polar bears.
    There are a lot of people up here trying to help our bears and that is why we are telling people all over the world about them so they will help us.

    This is one grownup who knows just how smart kids are. And if we give you the right knowledge, I know you will carry on helping the bears and helping our planet long after we am gone.

    I am trying to get all the people in my town to sign the petition to save the Arctic.

    I am proud of Man and I guess you are too. He is being such a good boy in school. He already knows the important stuff you have to learn in Kindergarten.

    I am happy that Poppa helps Man with his homework. Those two are so much like each other. Poppa is funny...he makes me laugh a lot.

    I bet you all have more homework this year but Jonny and Chris will have the most.

    Please thank Sha, Jonny and Man and your cousins Chris, Sherlyn and Bubba for the love they sent me. And thankyou for my cloud of gumdrops. I am so proud of all my cubs and love every one of you.

    Big bear hugs to everyone, Luv,
    Aunt Jeannie


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