Polar bears are majestic creatures. They look cute but behind that cuteness is a deadly punch of ferocity that we all should be wary about. Luckily, they are confined to a specific part of the Earth, far from the reaches of human habitation. In this article on unbelievable polar bear facts, we are going to look into 30 unbelievable facts that are really hard to digest! Let’s start…
Unbelievable Polar Bear Facts: 1-5
1. Polar Bears are mammals but most of us didn’t know that they are considered as marine mammals. The only reason why they are called marine mammals is that they live on Arctic Ocean’s ice sheets!
2. Of all carnivores that live in this entire world, polar bears are the largest in size. They have only one close rival and that’s the Kodiak brown bear that lives in areas of southwestern Alaska.
3. Did you know that polar bears are found only in the Arctic? They are not found in Antarctica!
4. In the Arctic, they are found in Norway, Russia, Greenland, Alaska (USA) and in Canada.
5. Though today they are known as polar bears, scientists are of the opinion that some 400,000 years ago they evolved from a common brown bear ancestor.
Unbelievable Polar Bear Facts: 6-10
6. All over the world, polar bears are known by several names. Some of the commonly used names are:
- Sea bear
- Ice bear
- White bear
- Beliy medved
- Lord of the Arctic
- Old Man in the Fur Cloak
- White sea deer
7. There is a widespread notion that polar bears are all left pawed. There is no scientific evidence supporting this claim. As a matter of fact, scientists have observed that they use both their paws equally.
8. Did you know that there is a widespread myth that polar bears use tools? This myth has been proved false by scientists. They don’t use any kind of tools (not even ice blocks). They however may kick snow or end up slapping the ground or even hurl ice chunks out of frustration when they fail to capture their prey.
9. Yet another myth about polar bears is that their hollow hair can conduct UV rays. This myth has been thoroughly studied and eventually, physicist Daniel Koon disproved the myth.
10. Do Orcas prey on polar bears? Well, they don’t! This too is a myth that popped up from the evidences of range expansion for the Orcas. The truth is that barring humans, polar bears do not have any natural predator. This means that they are apex predators in their world.
Unbelievable Polar Bear Facts: 11-15
11. These majestic beasts cannot be found in Antarctica. We have already mentioned this. However, we didn’t mention that the word ‘Arctic’ is actually a Greek word which means ‘bear’ and the word ‘Antarctic’ is a Greek word means ‘opposite of bear’. This means that the illustrations of penguins and polar bears living together are totally wrong.
12. The indigenous people of the Arctic region considered Nanuq (polar bear) to be powerful, wise and almost human. It is because of this, the Nanuq was one of the most prized among the animals that the indigenous people hunted.
13. Despite the fact that polar bears live in the chilly and harsh Arctic environments, they often need to cool down. They do so by either rolling on snow or by taking a dip in the chilly waters!
14. Polar bears have extremely powerful nose. Their nose is so powerful that they are capable of smelling seals that are located 16 kilometers away. They can also efficiently find the air hole of a seal from a distance of 1 mile. What else, they can sniff out the seal den that has been completely covered in snow!
15. Polar bears are extremely efficient swimmers. They have been known to swim for 60 miles straight without stopping in search of prey. However, the distance they cover by swimming is gradually on decline because of the changes in natural conditions.
Unbelievable Polar Bear Facts: 16-20
16. As we said, polar bears are extremely efficient swimmers. They can swim at a speed of 8 knots or 6 miles an hour. While swimming, polar bears will keep their hind legs flat just like a rudder and then pedal with their front legs.
17. Polar bears may be efficient swimmers but they are not efficient killers when it comes to catch prey in open water. They instead make use of ice sheets as their hunting platform.
18. They spend nearly 50% of their hunting time in a day in search or food. Interestingly, when they are not hunting, they can spend up to 20 hours a day just resting!
19. Did you know that though polar bears appear white, their fur isn’t really white? Their fur is actually transparent with a hollow core for reflecting light. This is an interesting adaptation because it helps them to blend in with the surrounding.
20. Because the habitat of polar bears is known to vanish for a few months every year, these creatures are known to have longest fasting period in entire animal kingdom.
Unbelievable Polar Bear Facts: 21-25
21. Polar bears can get dirty and they use the same trick to clean themselves that they use to cool themselves down. Yes, they roll on snow for cleaning themselves.
22. Sleuth and Pack are the terms that are used for referring to a group of polar bears.
23. Polar bears, unlike their black and brown counterparts, do not hibernate during the winter months. Only the pregnant polar bears den up during the colder months.
24. Indigenous people living in Arctic regions are known for eating the meat of polar bears. However, they ensure that they discard the liver of the polar bear because it is toxic to humans. The liver of a polar bear contains extremely high levels of Vitamin A. A liver from a polar bear is capable of killing 52 adults. An adult human needs 0.9 mg of Vitamin A daily. This can be achieved by eating just 1/10th of a gram of liver from a polar bear. With that calculation, a single liver can last for 143 years if we are to eat the liver of a polar bear.
25. The fur of the polar bear is used by indigenous people to make kamiks or soft boots for women while it is used for making warm trousers for the men.
Unbelievable Polar Bear Facts: 26-30
26. In the past, the indigenous people who used to hunt polar bears used to hang the skin of the dead bear in a honored place in their house and paid respect by offering bow-drills and knives to the spirit of the dead polar bear if the dead animal happened to be a male. For female spirits, they used to offer needle cases, skin-scrapers and knives.
27. The reason they used to honor the spirit of the hunted polar bear was a legend which stated that if the spirit of the dead bear was treated properly, the spirit would go and tell other bears who would want to be hunted by the hunters. Ill-treated spirits would inform about the ill-treatment and the bears would stay away from the hunters.
28. There is yet another legend. It was believed that strange polar bear men used to live in igloos. They were capable of walking upright and were even capable of talking. They used to shed their own skin in the privacy of their homes.
29. Did you know that the skin of the polar bears is actually black in color. The color helps them to soak up sunlight during day time and stay warm. They also have blubber – a thick fat layer underneath their skin that keeps them insulated from near-freezing water and frosty air. Of course, their fur also works as insulators.
30. Polar bears eat mostly the fat of the ice-dependent seals. They usually do not eat the meat. The leftover meat becomes food for other wild animals in the Arctic.