Polar Bears?

Ok, so there are no polar bears in Montana (that aren't stuffed), but as a distant relative - and an extremely interesting animal, we thought we'd include some interesting facts about them. 

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Polar Bears

Ursus maritimus

Did you know that the polar bear is the world's largest carnivore?  Or, that the largest polar bear on record stands more than eleven feet tall and weighed more than two thousand pounds.  The polar bear is considered a marine mammal and most people are not aware that polar bears only live in the circumpolar North, there are no polar bears at the South Pole. In addition, another little-known factoid is that a polar bear's fur is not actually white. 

Their hair shafts are hollow, pigment-free and transparent.  They look white to us because the hollow core reflects light in the same way that ice and snow does. A polar bear experiences almost no heat loss because it is so well-insulated with a blubber layer that can measure 4.5 inches thick.  Adult males quickly overheat when they run because of this natural insulation. 

Polar Bear Facts

A polar bear's paw can measure up to 12 inches across.  These large paws help distribute the their weight when treading on thin ice.  Polar bears will crawl on their bellies to keep from breaking through thin ice.  One of the enduring myths among native hunters about polar bears is that a hunting bear will cover its black nose while lying in wait for a seal.  Scientists have spent thousands of hours watching polar bears hunt and no one has ever seen one hide its nose. 

Polar bears are just as smart as apes and know few boundaries. They travel across ice from Russia to Alaska, and from Canada to Greenland.  It is estimated that their population is between 22,000 and 27,000 of which 15,000 are in Canada.  Hibernation in the true sense of the word does not apply to polar bears.  To learn more about polar bears, visit the following sites.

Another little known fact is that healthy Polar Bears have no natural enemies.  An old or weakened Polar Bear can be overtaken by other carnivores, but healthy bears roam free with no external threat to them - with one possible exception... humans. 

Polar Bear Links

Side trip?

If you want to see a dog that looks like a polar bear, look at this Great Pyrenees/Polar Bear looking pooch.  Oh and yes, she happens to be our dog!




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