The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose crucial habitat entails the frozen part of the Arctic Ocean and its surrounding mainlands and the seas. It is the icon of the Arctic region. 

This species is inferred largest in terms of extant and extant carnivores. Since this species has been undergoing threats as a cause of the climate change effects, IUCN enlisted it under the Vulnerable category.

The research estimates roughly 60-80% of the polar bear population in Canada. It possesses both cute and fierce behavior. Below mentioned are the polar bear traits, which are cute and shocking.

Table of Contents

1. Not white

It’s astounding to depict that polar bears are not white in coloration. They possess black skin and have colorless sand hollow hair. 

You could visualize their nose, which is covered by the transparency and the hair free from pigment. 

Since each hair is scattered and the visible light is reflected, they seem white. Additionally, the hollow fur is intended to keep bears warm in the Arctic regions since the region is always cold throughout the year.

The nose part can clearly illustrate that this species has a natural black color. Its fur is translucent, and due to the reflection of the visible light, the polar bear is seen white.

2. No wet

The polar bear possesses two fur layers. Among them, the hairs of outer parts form a layer that has a vital role in protecting the inner fur from getting wet soon. Since their habitat is in the ocean, the fur gets safeguarded due to the formed layer. 

Once they swim after their quick shaking, they won’t get wet and continue their daily activities.

Such a trait is generally rare among other animals. Due to the climate change-induced crisis, the disappearance of the Arctic ice could undoubtedly lead the polar bears to suffer from hunting. 

Thus, protection of the layer which permits them to dry even in the Arctic ocean looks pretty crucial in their life.

3. Unique motherhood

Mother and young polar bear
Mother and young polar bear | Image Credit – Image Credit – Flickr

Despite the polar bears mating during the spring season, the female polar bears do not get pregnant. Until the fall, there is no pregnancy. 

Although they are successful enough in the summer hunting to have high energy stores in their bodies, they survive a long winter season without food and should nourish their cubs.

This phenomenon is typically embedded by the term ‘delayed implantation.’ Apart from this, the researchers agree that only the female polar bears who fit in the environment, the strongest and the fattest, will get a better chance to give birth successfully and raise the cubs. 

They are regarded as successful mothers when their reproduction and raising of the cubs succeeds. 

It reflects the uniqueness and motherhood in the polar bears of the Arctic regions. The mother bears protect the dead cubs, too, when threats arise within their territory. 

They can even defend with the more giant male polar bears. Until the time to mate again, the mother polar bear teaches everything to her young ones ranging from hunting, swimming, making dens to migration.

The mother takes care of their cubs and stays with them for nearly two years. During this time, the cubs learn skills for thriving in the Arctic.

4. Building den

Polar bears in den
Polar bears in den | Image Credit – Flickr

The building den by the polar bears is fascinating. They dig the shallow dens in the southern regions of their territory in the land of the tundra banks having peats and permits seal to enter inside it. 

After creating the den, basically in October or November, they reside inside the den without feeding anything else until the season of March or early April. 

The polar bear cubs get passed out two or three months by consuming their mother milk and growing by the laps.

The principal purpose of building the den by the polar bears is to remain inside for some seasons and seek after their young ones. 

5. Big and adorable eyes

Big and adorable eyes
Big and adorable eyes | Image Credit – Flickr

They comprise cuddly large and brown eyes. The eyes are so adorable that they attract anyone’s attention. 

Rather than the adults, the polar bear cub’s eyes are lovely. When someone sees their eyes, it feels like they are directly attached to your soul.

6. Fuzzy and cuddly

The polar bear’s body looks pretty soft, pleasant, and warm. It is cuddly and doesn’t want any harmful activities.

7. Cute noses

Cute noses
Cute nose | Image Credit – Flickr

Considering the polar bear noses, it comes for sniffing the food. Most importantly, their noses hugely help detect threats within their territory. 

Their noses are puffed out and seem very adorable and unique. Besides these, the noses of the polar bears are just darned cute for the polar bear lovers.

8. Well adaptation to a harsh environment

It’s pretty much apparent that the polar bear can exist in harsh environmental conditions. 

Their thick fur (blubber) aids them in their body protection from the frost air and almost freezing water. 

Because of the presence of black skin, they are helped by the soaking of the sun’s radiation and keeping them warm throughout the year.

9. Birth in snow dens

The female polar bears give birth in December in the snow dens. At birth, the polar bear cubs are 30 cm long and weigh nearly half a kilogram. The weight of the polar bear cub is equivalent to the weight likely of a guinea pig.

10. Paws

Regarding the polar bear paws, they felt like soft pillows. The claws differ per the polar bears. Some claws look pretty enough as big hands, while some are likely cat claws.

Compared to the back paws, the polar bear’s front paws are longer in size. The front paws are utilized to dig the soil in search of food and climb the trees.

11. Playful and clumsy

Playful and clumsy bears
Playful and clumsy bears | Image Credit – Flickr

It may be pretty blatant for everyone that the polar bear is very playful. Its movement in search of food looks stunning. The cubs will play with each other, chasing in the snowy parts. 

The polar bear cub learns from their mother to walk and follow others like the adult polar bears. They seem clumsy while rolling, falling over, and getting back again.

12. Touches noses to share food

The cutest and most fascinating fact about the majestic creature, the polar bear, in the Arctic region is touching others’ noses. 

When a passing bear spots the dead polar bear and the other polar bear is feasting on it, the polar bear spotted the dead bear will move towards the other polar bear and touch its nose, asking for permission to share the food with it.

13. Snow rolling to keep themselves clean

Bear rolling in the snow
Bear rolling in the snow | Image Credit – Pinterest

Either during the adventure or after having a meal, the polar bear rolls down themselves to clean off their fur from time to time. It is a frequent act carried out. 

The other primary cause behind this rolling of the polar bear entails keeping its insulation in tip-top shape.

They freshen up after feeding to cool themselves to get rid of the excessive heat.

14. Long life span

Despite very unsuccessful hunting in the polar bears, it is estimated to have a higher life span. 

It can thrive for up to 25 years. The sea bear named Debby survived up to 42 years old in Canada to reveal more.

15. Birthdays are usually in December

When the polar bear mates and spends a long time in the snow caves, the mother polar bear only gives birth to her young ones in December. After the cub’s birth, they are inferred by the name ‘Cubs of the Year’ in the first year.

The cubs are born in the snow caves known as the polar bears’ maternity dens. They dig a den after being heavily fed to the mother polar bear during either April or May.

16. Lacking hibernation

The polar bears are known to have evolved from brown bears. It never hibernates, following the study by the National Wildlife Federation

The seal is very abundant during the winter season. At the onset of the winter, the sea ice gets formed, and it will be the perfect time for hunting the polar bears for seals.

Most significantly, according to the outside temperature, the polar bear’s heart rate and temperature don’t decrease. It assures that the polar bear cubs stay very warm during motherhood. 

The mother polar bear relies on the fat content in its body intended to sustain both the cubs and the mother polar bears while remaining in the den.

17. Active human hunting

Huge Polar Bear Preys on Camera Crew | Video Credit – BBC Earth

Historically, the most preferred food by the polar bear is a seal. It is very conscious about its territory. 

Those who enter or encroach its territory it defends very massively. Most troublingly, it does even hunt humans. It is considered superior in its speed, sense of smell, and sharp bite.

When humans enter its area, they will be the victims of its food massively. It is the crucial thing that you must know before heading towards the Arctic regions.

It’s blatant that the great white shark has very piercing biting. It makes you petrified knowing that the polar bears have a stronger bite than the great white sharks, the African lions, and even the Bengal tigers. 

It bears a strength of around 1235 pounds per square inch for biting. Besides this, humans have a force of roughly 162 pounds per square inch on average. From this, you could quickly evaluate how strong the bite of a polar bear is.

18. Unsuccessful hunting

The researchers reveal spending roughly half of the polar bears’ life in food hunting. They prey upon the ringed seals and the bearded seals. 

Despite its more time in hunting, less than 2 % of the hunting remains successful by the polar bears. 

Apart from hunting bearded, ringed seals, it consumes carcasses of small mammals, birds, vegetation, and even eggs.

19. 19 subpopulation of bears

The research estimates roughly 26,000 wild polar bears all across the globe. They have been divided into 19 subpopulations. 

Unfortunately, there is a data deficit of the nine subpopulations out of all nineteen populations while the four are running in the declination phase. 

To sum up, the five species are recorded in stable condition while the one sub-population of the polar bear is increasing to some extent. It’s ironic to depict minimal information regarding how they have been doing so far.

20. Heavyweight

The polar bear’s weight, which exists in the Arctic ocean, possesses a fascinating weight. The male polar bears are 800 kg in weight and are twice the female size. Concerning the dimension of the polar bear, they comprise 3 meters. 

Because of its higher length, it is inferred as the largest land carnivore globally. The male polar bears’ weight is equivalent to the weight of around ten men.

The weight varies significantly between the male and the female polar bears. For instance, males weigh up to 1200 pounds while female bears range from 330 to 650 pounds. But at the initial phase, their astounding weight reaches 775 pounds.

21. Rapid running

The speed of the polar bear reaches 40 km per hour. 40 km per hour running speed is terrifying. 

When it runs at high speed, it can attack its prey over an enormous distance. 

22. Smell prey up to large kilometers

The polar bear has a sharp-smelling sense. It finds sealing breathing holes in the arctic regions through the sense aid. 

It takes a lot to search the holes. When it finds the hole, the polar bear waits patiently for the seal to arrive out of the hole. 

The seal comes out of the hole to get air. Taking this opportunity, the polar bear attacks it. The research estimates that it can smell the prey several kilometers and wait to attack them with long patience.

The most piercing fact that the polar bear holds is that it can detect a seal in the water below the mass of the compacted snow over meters.

Research estimates the smelling of the polar bear as deep as 3 feet below the snow compacted. 

They do not lurk their prey; instead, they use their sensing smell to detect them underwater and wait for them to attack upon the great opportunity.

Additionally, it is recorded that the incredible smell of the polar bear could sniff out its prey up to 16 km away

16 km distance is not a little distance. This unique trait of the polar bear has always made them strong creatures to thrive in the Arctic.

23. Three eyelids

Anyone could be surprised to know that polar bears comprise three eyelids. The third eyelid is applicable for reducing the amount of Ultraviolet radiation entering their eyes. The eyelid assists the polar bears in their protection from snow blindness and also help them to see underwater.

24. Swimming in their DNA

Swimming polar bear
Swimming polar bear | Image Credit – Flickr

The polar bear is known for its excellence in swimming. They stay in the water for a prolonged period and travel far distances. 

The swimming of the polar bear is primarily supported by their oversized paws, thereby assisting them in paddling through the icy waters in the Arctic oceans.

The polar bear’s most piercing trait is that it can easily swim approximately 10 km per hour. The large front paws are meant to propel themselves through the water while the back legs steer.

They swim in between the shore and the sea ice. Even the research record for around ten days at a time, traveling up to 427 miles, equivalent to 687 kilometers without resting and at a single swim.

25. Faster on land

It looks precious that the majestic creature, the polar bear, has significant speed on the snowy land. It can reach its speed up to 25 miles per hour (40 km). 

A fascinating fact that the male polar bear holds is despite having its 900 pounds’ weight, it can travel significantly faster on the land.

Wrapping Up

Fascinating and Arctic melt are two major traits of these mesmerizing creatures. 

As its habitat is converting into water mass, time is near when it becomes another extinct list of animals. 

These animals are not okay to cuddle and definitively do not deserve extinction. Controlling the temperature rise is the only option.

(Last Updated on April 11, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Kalpana Ghimire holds a post-graduate degree in Environmental Science from Nepal. She possesses numerous research experiences working in water pollution, community forestry, environment conservation status, and wildlife ecology. She was an internee in the Department of Environment (EIA monitoring and auditing section) under the Government of Nepal. Kalpana Ghimire is an avid traveler, an enthusiastic wildlife researcher, and has a huge passion for working in the environment sector. She loves far traveling to the natural areas, conducting field wildlife research and reading the novels.