Polar Bears

This page is about polar bears in general rather than specific species of polar bear. There are in fact 19 separate species of polar bear, 8 of which are reported as being either ‘endangered’ or ‘declining in numbers’.  In fact in 2005 the IUCN classified 8 species as declining, 1 species as increasing and 3 species as having a stable population. The further 7 species of polar bear had insufficient data for people to work out how stable their populations were.

The main threat to polar bears is said to be global warming with the ice caps melting leaving polar bears with less land. It has been reported that normally polar bears aren’t territorial but with more polar bears living in closer areas some polar bears are likely to be trying to fight others for land.


In the winter you are only likely to see male polar bears, as it is likely that females will be underground in their dens with cubs.

Polar bears have black skin to adsorb as much as heat as possible. They also have a layer of fat that can be up to 11cm thick to help keep them warm. This is especially important for them when swimming. In fact polar bears are so well insulated against the cold weather that there is a possibility of them overheating if they move too fast; this is why you rarely see a polar bear running.

Their fur is actually translucent but appears white as it reflects the surrounding environment. This is one adaptation of the polar bear so it can camouflage so its prey hopefully won’t see it coming.

A polar bear’s diet is mainly made up of seals. Polar bears will wait for hours by a water hole in the ice waiting for a weal to come up and then swiftly grab it. Polar bears can also dive down into the water, however as they are mammals they need to come up for air and if they forget where the hole in the ice is it is likely they will drown under the ice.

AN adult male polar bear is likely to weigh 350-680kg, whereas a female will be around 200-400kg.

Polar bears are at the top of the marine ecosystem with no predators.

Polar bears have huge paws that spread their weight out and stop them breaking through any thin arctic ice. They have soft pads on their feet called papillae, which increase the friction between them and the ice and stop them slipping.

Amazingly they have black teeth, but don’t do a lot of chewing as they tend to swallow their prey in chunks.

May 30, 2010 · Maddia (Admin) · 2 Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Bear Information, Polar Bear Species

2 Responses

  1. Tim - May 30, 2010

    Can you tell me what the sub-species names for polar bears are please?

  2. Mad (Admin) - May 31, 2010

    Hi Tim,
    I am currently looking for this information too. When I find it I’ll post a page about each species under ‘Polar Bear Species’ (which is under the category ‘bears’). I can tell you that there are 19 sub-species of polar bears and that 8 of them are endangered.
    So far I only know the scientific name of the first polar bear species, Ursus Maritimus Tyrannus, which is now extinct.
    I can also tell you the general names of some of the polar bear sub-species, but not their scientific names. They are: Ice bear, Sea Bear, White bear and Walking Bear.
    Hope this helps.