Television commercials have often portrayed polar bears as friendly and cuddly mammals ready to snuggle with any human who approaches. Something like that won’t end in a happy note in real life. The largest land carnivore and one of the biggest mammals of planet earth is quite moody and loves to gorge meat.
Life in the middle of cold and hard terrains has made this species adept at hunting and finding food. This article narrates some fascinating facts about polar bears that we are commonly unaware of.
Evolved for the Cold Climate
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Pictures of polar bears in the middle of blizzards fill us with horror thinking how tough survival must be. The polar bears survive in the hardest cold regions simply by the virtue of evolution. They have evolved several superb physical adaptation techniques for sustaining the blizzards. The fur in their body is insulated preserving the warmth of their bodies well. Moreover, they have a thick layer of blubber that offers good protection against the chill. The soles of their feet are also coated in fur so they can easily walk on layers of ice and snow.
There is a Polar Bear Capital
A modest town in Hudson Bay, northern Manitoba, Churchill is the Polar Bear Capital of the World. For eight weeks in the months of October and November it hosts a congregation of polar bears just out of slumber. After long months of summer hibernation more than 900 polar bears gather around Churchill for the Hudson Bay to freeze.
Many bear enthusiasts, nature lovers, media reporters and scientists visit Churchill at this time of the year for having a look at the polar bear populace. The movements of the polar bears are closely observed by a trained Polar Bear Alert Team. After 30 days of waiting the polar bears return to their habitat in Tundra region.
Changing Sexual Behaviors
Unless there is a real need for mating outside the clan, no species breaks their code of sexual behaviors. The continuously soaring global temperature is affecting the sexual behaviors of polar bears. They are expanding their scope for survival through mating with nearest species like the Grizzly bear clan. The cubs of polar bears and grizzly are being called ‘grolar’ or ‘prizzly’ bears.
Polar Bears are not the Color of Snow
The polar bears look milky white but they are not really white. Their fur even is not white but transparent and pigment free. As sunlight refracts from their hollow and transparent hair their fur looks white. Wear, tear and eating too much seal fat add a yellowish tint to their fur sometimes.
Underneath the façade of white hair the polar bears have black skin. Scientists believe that the hollow hair and black skin actually contribute in keeping them warmer. White appearance of the fur is also helpful in hunting as it acts as a camouflage for them.
No matter how much we hate smelly foot and smelly socks, for polar bears bad smelling foot is the means of communication. Since the home range of a polar bear is quite expansive, finding a mate at the right time is more than difficult. That’s why with their each step they leave a small pool of chemicals behind. Prospective mates sniff this chemical to trace the polar bear partner and engage in procreation.
Polar bears are fascinating carnivores with many talents up their sleeves. Despite having dangerously prickly mood they are patient hunters. They are also excellent swimmers, capable of staying in water non-stop for a week.