You've probably seen polar bears in commercials, cartoons, and movies, but did you know that these bears are quite fascinating in real life? From specialized fur for swimming in freezing arctic waters to sliding on the ice to play, polar bears are very interesting creatures. If you want to learn more about these ice-ceptional animals, we have a pile of polar bear facts for kids right here!
Incredibly Cool Fun Facts About Polar Bears for Kids
Have you ever wondered what a polar bear eats? Are you curious about how much a polar bear weighs? If so, you've come to the right place. We have some intriguing and fun facts about polar bears for kids that you might not know.
- Polar bears have black skin. This helps them to absorb sunlight to stay warm.
- Polar bears are big. In fact, they are the largest land carnivore.
- Male polar bears can weigh about 1,500 pounds or more.
- For reference — the average male grizzly bear only weighs between 400 and 600 pounds.
- Polar bears can live for about 25 years, but most wild polar bears average only 15 to 18 years.
- Rolling in the snow or taking a swim is how they clean their fur.
- Polar bears slide on the ice to play.
- When they want to play, they wag their heads!
- When a polar bear is ready to mate, she emits a stinky scent through her feet so that male polar bears can find her through her footprints.
- Polar bears might be big, but their babies are tiny. They are only about the size of a small tube of biscuits (one to two pounds) when born!
- Polar bears can stand 10 feet tall.
- Interestingly, despite their much lower weight, a grizzly stands at 9 feet while standing on its hind legs.
- They can eat over 100 pounds of blubber in one meal.
- International Polar Bear Day is February 27th!
Did you know that the word "Arctic" comes from the Greek word "arktikos," which means "near the bear"? This essentially means that Antarctica means "no bears". This is fitting since the coldest continent has no bear population, contrary to popular belief.
Chill Polar Bear Habitat Facts & Other Interesting Tidbits
Polar bears are so cool, and that's not just because they live in a cold climate. While you would need to put on several layers, goggles, and specialty boots to live somewhere cold, they just hang out like the freezing weather is no big deal. Dive into some interesting polar bear habitat facts that might make you a little chilly.
- Polar bears live in the Arctic. They are found in the U.S., Russia, Norway, Canada, and Greenland.
- Polar bears roam the Arctic ice sheets to catch the seals.
- Since ice moves all the time, polar bears don't have territory like other animals.
- In fact, polar bears are classified as marine mammals!
- They do a lot of traveling to find food, traveling about 19 miles a day.
- Much like a horse, polar bears gallop to move around.
- There are only an estimated 22-31,000 polar bears globally, but this number is falling because of climate change.
- 60 to 80% of the polar bear population can be found in Canada.
- Adult polar bears have no known predators, other than other polar bears.
- Polar bears can sit for long periods, waiting for seals to poke their heads out of the ice.
- Polar bears spend part of the year on land.
- Pregnant polar bears make dens in snowbanks to have their babies.
Polar Bear Adaptation Facts for Kids
Living in the Arctic isn't easy, so polar bears boast some exciting adaptations to make life on ice more manageable. You'll learn everything from what's so special about their fur to their incredible feet in this section.
- Polar bears have webbed feet, so they are better swimmers.
- Their large feet have small bumps, called papillae, to help them grip the ice.
- A polar bear's nostrils close when they are swimming, so they don't accidentally breathe in water.
- They also have an elongated snout which allows them to warm the cold arctic air as they breathe in.
- They have a layer of fat covering their body to stay in the cold areas. This also means they can overheat when it gets too warm.
- A polar bear's fur is actually clear, to help them to blend in.
- Their fur has a greasy coat, so they dry faster after swimming.
- They also have two layers of fur to help them stay warm.
- Large curved claws help them catch slippery seals and keep traction on the ice.
- Their short tails and ears prevent them from losing heat.
Surprising Facts About Polar Bears That You Might Not Know
At this point, you might think that you know all there is to know about polar bears, but you would be wrong. Swim through a few of the lesser-known facts about polar bears.
Polar Bears Have 42 Teeth
Hunting and eating seals takes a lot of work. So, polar bears have a lot of really sharp teeth — 42 in fact, to help them get the job done. They use their sharp teeth for hunting seals, and their molars are also sharp for chewing. Polar bears also have a gap between their front and back teeth to help them grab seals out of the water to the sheet ice.
Polar Bears Have a Keen Sense of Smell
Polar bears have a powerful sense of smell, which is essential for hunting. Seals, their main prey, cut breathing holes in the ice. The polar bears can smell the seals around the breathing hole, so they can wait to catch them.
Even more interesting — they can smell seals on the ice twenty miles away!
Polar Bears Are Solitary Creatures
Polar bears don't typically live in packs or groups. They like to be alone. This is better for hunting. Polar bears don't have a way to communicate, except when a polar bear is looking for a mate.
Polar Bears Are Fast Runners
With all that weight on them, you would think that polar bears would be pretty slow. But in fact, they are fast runners. Polar bears have been clocked at about 25 mph. They can only do this for short distances, but you probably wouldn't want to meet up with one!
Polar Bears Fast for Days
Seals aren't the easiest prey to catch. Therefore, it's common for a polar bear to have to fast for days in between meals. The fat stored in their bodies can be helpful for this. Polar bears will hunt and store fat during the winter to make sure they have enough body fat to get them through when prey is scarce.
Polar Bears Don't Hibernate
Another fun fact about polar bears is that they don't hibernate like regular bears. Mother bears will build a den for themselves and their littles, but polar bears generally don't go into hibernation. According to the Maryland Zoo, a mother polar bear uses her reserved fat to keep the babies warm and does not have a lower heart rate or metabolism. Mother polar bears are pretty amazing.
Foxes Follow Polar Bears Around
Polar bears are messy eaters. That means they leave a bit of food behind. The Arctic fox uses this as an opportunity to get a free meal. So, they will follow polar bears around to eat their leftovers. However, a polar bear will eat an Arctic fox if it's hungry.
Polar Bears Eat More Than Just Seals
Polar bears are carnivores, and their preferred meal is a seal due to the animal's high fat content. But seals aren't always available. Therefore, a polar bear will eat other things too. They have been known to eat geese, whales that wash up on the shore, small mammals, and even bird eggs. But they need the fat from a seal or walrus to store in their reserves.
Perfect Polar Bear Facts for Kids to Enjoy
Polar bears are more than just cute characters to watch on the big or small screen. They are unique animals that are slowly losing their habitat because the world is getting warmer. Many scientists think they might become extinct in the coming years. But that doesn't mean it's not fun to enjoy a few polar bear jokes as well!