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Polar bear

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Polar Bear
Polar bear pictures.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Ursus maritimus

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is also known as: white bear, northern bear, and sea bear. It’s been said that it is the biggest land carnivore, rivaling the Kodiak, and the apex predator within its range. The polar bear can live up to 25 years, and is uniquely adapted to the arctic. Among the world, there are thought to be 22,000-27,000 polar bears in 19 separate populations. Since the bear lives in water almost as much as it does on land, it is considered a marine mammal. The main life focuses of the bear are to hunt and conserve energy.

Contents

Anatomy

This polar bear is about twice the weight of a lion or tiger. The males that are fully grown have a weight range of about 400 to 600 kg. Sometimes though, their weight can even reach 800 kg. Females, though, are noticeably smaller. The anatomy of the polar bear is entirely adapted for living, and hunting among the ice flows. Its front legs are very strong, which helps it to catch prey. The bear can go weeks without food, yet the stomach is able to hold a lot so it is able to eat very large meals when it gets the chance.

Swimming polar bear.

* Swimming - With its strong legs, large muscles throughout the body, and sturdiness, the polar bear can swim up to about sixty miles without having to stop and take a break. To further aid in swimming, they have fairly big feet with a little bit of webbing in-between their toes. When the bear goes under water for prey, its nose and ears close up so no water gets in. But they keep their eyes open so they can see what they’re hunting.

* Fur - The bottom of the paw is covered in dense fur that gives it more traction and less slippage while walking on ice. The fur that covers the polar bear's body is made up of two layers. One layer is guard hairs, and the other one is a fine, white hair (which is visible to us). The guard hairs are hollow and make it so the bear is buoyant. The colors of the fur vary from white to yellowish white. This helps camouflage it toe the arctic surroundings, however, under the fur, the skin is black.

Reproduction

Den of cubs.

The polar bears are animals that reproduce sexually. They mate in the spring time. Their gestation period is about eight months, with the cubs born in early winter. The mother prepares a place for the cubs to be born, by digging a cave in the deep snow. When the cubs are born, they are pretty much blind and helpless. At about one month old, they open their eyes, and at about a month and a half, they’re able to walk. The cubs stay with the mother for while and learn to hunt and protect themselves. The male bears are known to cannibalize cubs. They separate from their mothers around four to five months. A litter consists of usually 1-3, yet four cubs has been seen. They are usually very small when they are born. The female polar bears reach sexual maturity at about four years, and the males reach it at about six years. Although they reach that maturity younger, they don’t usually successfully mate until they’re about eight to ten years old. When looking for a mate, they find each other by congregating in the best seal-hunting habits. The scientists aren’t really sure what signals the males use to track breeding females.

Ecology

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The whole circumpolar Arctic region is polar bear habitat. They practically live both in and out of water. They are comfortable with both. They can be found on coastal islands, coastlines, pack ice, and even out in the arctic waters. The range of that is limited by pack ice. It is said that the polar bears live all the way across the arctic. About 60 percent of them live in Canada. Their main places that they usually live are: Wrangel Island and western Alaska, Northern Alaska, Canadian Arctic archipelago, Greenland, Svalbard- Franz Josef Land, and North-Central Siberia. Not only is their range limited by pack ice, but sea ice that is used as ground to hunt seal. Global warming, though, is a destruction to their habitat. So it threatens their survival as an entire species. It is said that they may even become extinct within the century.

Related References

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