Why Do Polar Bears Live in the Arctic?

polar-bears-live-arctic Credit: Kazue Asano/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

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.

Polar bears live on a steady diet of seal fat, but also feed on any other animal they can kill. As avid hunters, their massive claws are capable of pulling a 150-pound seal out of the water. After cleaning an animal of its blubber, polar bears often leave the carcass behind so that other animals may have the rest of the meal.

Pregnant polar bears go into a hibernation den during the winter months. They do not actually hibernate, rather they stay with their young for the winter. Females and cubs emerge from their dens in spring. During that time, they live off of their ample fat reserves and the cubs enjoy plenty of mother's milk, which has a high percentage of fat. Male polar bears may choose to leave the den periodically and can be seen in the wild throughout the year.