Polar Bears

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Polar bears sleep on the open ground, dig pits in gravel and sand at shorelines, or dig shallow areas in the snow or beneath protected ridges. Once inside these protective depressions, they turn their backs to the wind.

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  • How many polar bears are left in the world?

    Q: How many polar bears are left in the world?

    A: The World Wildlife Foundation estimates that there are between 20,000 and 25,000 polar bears left in the world. Between 60 and 80 percent of these animals live in Canada.
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  • Do polar bears live in the North Pole?

    Q: Do polar bears live in the North Pole?

    A: Polar bears live in the Arctic, which is the region that surrounds the North Pole. They spend much of their time on sheets of Arctic ice.
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  • What is being done to preserve the polar bear population?

    Q: What is being done to preserve the polar bear population?

    A: Several organizations work to save polar bears by holding federal and state agencies accountable under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which offers legal protection to designated plants and animals under the federal government. Some advocacy groups include the National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department.
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  • Do polar bears eat penguins?

    Q: Do polar bears eat penguins?

    A: Polar bears do not eat penguins in the wild because the animals are not able to interact. Polar bears live in arctic regions, while penguins are found in the southern hemisphere.
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  • How big do polar bears get?

    Q: How big do polar bears get?

    A: The male polar bear measures 8 to 9 feet and weighs between 550 and 1320 pounds, while the female measures 6 to 7 feet and weighs between 200 and 700 pounds. Polar bears are the largest terrestrial carnivores, and the only other bear of similar size is the Kodiak bear.
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  • Why do polar bears have large paws?

    Q: Why do polar bears have large paws?

    A: Polar bears large paws are an adaptation feature, which allows polar bears to spread their weight on snow and ice more effectively. The paws act like snowshoes for balancing the significant weight polar bears have. Fur on the bottom of their paws also helps polar bears to grip the ice.
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  • Where do polar bears sleep?

    Q: Where do polar bears sleep?

    A: Polar bears sleep on the open ground, dig pits in gravel and sand at shorelines, or dig shallow areas in the snow or beneath protected ridges. Once inside these protective depressions, they turn their backs to the wind.
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  • Why do polar bears have white fur?

    Q: Why do polar bears have white fur?

    A: Polar bears have white fur because it serves as camouflage in the Arctic snow, allowing them to blend into the environment and hunt. Polar bears, having evolved from grizzly bears thousands of years ago, also changed in other ways to survive in their habitat.
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  • Do polar bears live at the South Pole?

    Q: Do polar bears live at the South Pole?

    A: Polar bears do not live at or near the South Pole. In fact, polar bears actually live near the Arctic Circle, or North Pole, where they hunt seals through the openings in the frozen water.
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  • How long do polar bears live?

    Q: How long do polar bears live?

    A: A polar bear can live up to 18 years on average in the wild. In captivity, polar bears have been known to live up to 30 years.
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  • What is a polar bear's defense?

    Q: What is a polar bear's defense?

    A: Because polar bears are apex predators, they have no natural enemies, but when a polar bear male fights another male during mating season, it defends itself with its brute strength, curved claws, powerful jaws and long, sharp canine teeth. In rare encounters with other predators, such as grizzlies, a polar bear tends to back off in defense and leave the carcass to its opponent.
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  • Why do polar bears live in the Arctic?

    Q: Why do polar bears live in the Arctic?

    A: Polar bears live in the Arctic because they are well suited to thrive in freezing temperatures. Polar bears are insulated by an ample layer of fat and a double layer of thick, white fur that camouflages them from being detected by predators and prey. The furry feet of the polar bear have a network of bumps that gives the animal traction on ice and snow.
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  • Q: Why are polar bears endangered?

    A: Polar bears are endangered because of global warming, which negatively affects their natural habitat. Other threats to the polar bear population are pollution, poaching and unregulated hunting.
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  • Q: What are the adaptations of polar bears?

    A: Two adaptations of the polar bear are its white fur and its black skin. The fur, which is actually transparent, reflects sunlight and camouflages the bear as it makes its way along ice floes in the arctic. The bear's black skin absorbs sunlight and keeps it warm.
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  • What animal can survive after being frozen?

    Q: What animal can survive after being frozen?

    A: While many animal species possess an ability to withstand very low temperatures, the wood frog, also known by its scientific name Rana sylvatica, is the largest animal known to survive up to two-thirds of its body water being frozen.
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  • Q: What is the lifecycle of polar bears?

    A: Polar bears are usually born in a maternity den between November and February and spend the next 2.5 years with their mother; by the age of 5 years, they are fully mature and ready to mate. Adult polar bears usually live to the ages of 15 to 18 years, but some polar bears have lived into their 30s.
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  • Q: Why are there no polar bears in Antarctica?

    A: There are no polar bears in Antarctica because polar bears live in the North Pole, or the Arctic. Some people have suggested moving polar bears to Antarctica because they are currently listed as "vulnerable" by the ICUN, and with rising temperatures in the North Pole, the polar bear is on its way to becoming endangered.
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  • Q: What is the world's largest polar bear?

    A: The largest polar bear on record was shot in Alaska in the nineteenth century. It was over 12 feet tall and weighed 2,210 pounds. Polar bears have an average weight of 900 to 1,000 pounds. They are considered one of the world’s largest bears.
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  • Q: Where do polar bears come from?

    A: Polar bears live far above the Arctic Circle and can be found at all points where land and the Arctic Ocean meet. Populations of polar bears are found in Alaska, Canada, Norway, Russia and Greenland. However, a Current Biology study points to polar bears having originated in Ireland.
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  • What are some adaptations of polar bears?

    Q: What are some adaptations of polar bears?

    A: Some adaptations of polar bears are their white fur, which camouflages them against the white ice floes where they hunt, and wide forepaws, which act as paddles when they swim. Their feet have fur to allow them to gain purchase on the ice and snow.
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  • What are some interesting polar bear facts for kids?

    Q: What are some interesting polar bear facts for kids?

    A: Polar bears live in the Arctic along the shores of cold water. Pregnant polar bears usually have three babies, which are called cubs. They give birth to their cubs in the spring in holes in the ground, which are called dens.
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