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Polar bear

Ursus maritimus

CHARACTERISTICS

Family
Ursidae

Habitat
Arctic coastal and pack ice regions

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

White Coat on Black Skin

A white animal is perfectly camouflaged against the ice, but that white coat is an optical illusion. It only appears white through the reflection of sunlight - polar bear hair is actually transparent and hollow. The hair directs the sun onto black skin which retains the warmth of the sun.

Babies as Small as Guinea Pigs

Polar bear babies are born between November and January. Mating takes place between April and June and the fertilised embryo doesn’t develop further until September at the earliest. It is crucial that the female polar bear is well-nourished so that she can survive the winter and can produce enough milk. The actual pregnancy then lasts two to three months.

At birth polar bear babies are naked, deaf and blind, and only as big as a guinea pig.

 

Well Prepared

Measuring up to 3 metres from nose to tail, the polar bear is the largest predatory animal in the world.

It has a thick layer of fat under its skin to insulate it against extreme cold and to serve as a food reserve during hibernation.