Polar bears live in North America and parts of Eurasia, but there is so much more to this beautiful bear.
The scientific name for the polar bear is ursus maritimus, which means sea bear. In the language of the natives of Alaska, the polar bear is called nanook which means white bear. Another name for the polar bear is the walking bear because of the long distances the bear travels on the ice.1 Sadly due to rapid global warming and the encroachment of human civilization, the ice polar bears walk on is melting, causes them to swim longer distances for food. Also food, such as seals and fish are finding different waters to reproduce and areas are being over fished by people. Both of these cause polar bear starvation. Here is a link to the National Wild Life Federation’s page on Polar Bears and Global Warming .
Polar bears can swim approximately 100 miles at a clip, but again due to global warming polar bears are having to swim farther.
The original scientific name for polar bear was urus maritimus, but scientists named it Thalarctos, which came from the Greek meaning sea bear of the north. However, in 1971, scientists returned to the original name. A member of the British navy, C.J. Phipps first coined the term ursus maritimus in 1774.
Only 25,000-40,000 polar bears exist in the arctic today.
A polar bear’s gestation period is somewhere between 240-270 days and bears give birth in late November or in early July.1 Female polar bears can start giving birth between the ages of four and five. Females usually give birth to one or two cubs. Polar bear babies are about the size of a rat.
People tend to think that polar bear’s are white. In all actuality, each hair is a clear hollow tube that reflects sunlight. 2
According to some sources, the polar bear descends from an ancestor that lived over 600,000 years ago.
Cubs can nurse at fifteen minute clips six-seven times a day.1
Polar bears have black skin.
Despite popular belief, there aren’t any bi-polar bears, and by bi-polar we mean bears living at both the south and north poles.
Males and non-pregnant females do not hibernate. However, pregnant females do hibernate.1
According various researchers, polar bears (and other bears), have the same IQ .
Polar bears can run about 24 miles-per-hour.
A polar bear’s paws are designed to grip the ice so they do not slip.
Brown, Gary. The Great Bear Almanac. Lyons and Burford. New York: 1993 pgs 20, 133,142, 147