Did You Know: National Polar Bear Week (Nov. 1-7)

Polar bears clean themselves by rolling in the snow. — AP Photo

• Polar bears live in the Arctic.

• Polar bears have black skin and although their fur appears white, it is actually transparent.

• Polar bears spend most of their time at sea.

• They have 42 teeth.

• The scientific name for the polar bear is ‘ursus maritimus’.

• Polar bears keep warm thanks to nearly 4 inches of blubber under the skin.

• Polar bears can reach speeds up to 25 mph on land and 6 mph in water.

• Polar bears are found in the frozen wilds of the Arctic, in Canada, Alaska (U.S.), Greenland, Russia and Norway.

• Despite their size and bulk, polar bears are excellent swimmers, and have been spotted in waters over 100km offshore. They can comfortably swim at around 10km/h using their slightly webbed, 30cm wide paws like paddles in the water.

• Sadly, these incredible creatures are classified as “vulnerable”. The biggest threat to polar bears is climate change. Rising global temperatures means that sea ice is melting earlier and forming later each year, leaving polar bears less time to hunt for food.

• It is the sister species of the Brown Bear.

• It is a marine mammal because it mostly found near ice and water.

• Its fur is very thick, which keeps it warm in the extremely cold climate of the Arctic Circle.

• Bear cubs can’t swim in water because their fat layer isn’t thick enough to prevent heat loss.

• The polar bear tail is short and ears are small and round, which further minimizes the heat loss.

• The paws of the Polar Bears are ideal for walking on the Arctic.

• Polar bears clean themselves by rolling in the snow.

• Polar bears in the wild can live up to 30 years. Most live 15 to 18 years.

• In water, the front paws act as large paddles and rear paws act as rudders for swimming.

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/

Contact staff writer Chanel Hill at (215) 893-5716 or at chill@phillytrib.com.

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