Do Polar Bears Live in the North Pole?

polar-bears-live-north-pole Credit: Emran Kassim/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

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.

The Arctic Circle designates the latitude above where the sun does not rise during the winter solstice and does not set during the summer solstice. The sun rises and sets once a year at the North Pole, resulting in six months of constant daylight followed by six months of constant night.

Polar bears roam the ice sheets and swim in the Arctic coastal waters. They have large front paws that are slightly webbed, making them strong swimmers. Polar bears float on these sheets of ice to travel great distances; sometimes they are seen hundreds of miles from shore.

Polar bears have many adaptations that make them uniquely suited for living in their icy habitat. Their skin is black to absorb heat, but their fur is white to provide camouflage. Their fur is also thicker than other bears'. They have a thick layer of fat beneath their fur, called blubber, that insulates them from the cold and provides buoyancy.

Polar bears have no natural predators. They usually eat seals but will also eat the carcasses of other animals if they find them.