Awe-ducational: The Polar Bear

The polar bear is the largest species of bear in the world. A large male polar bear can stand ten feet tall and weigh about 1,500 pounds. Making them the largest meat eaters on earth. They live in the freezing arctic regions of the world, including the North Pole. Polar bears have larger paws then other bears, which acts as a snowshoe to allow them to walk on top of soft snow. The pads of their feet are bumped and lined with fur, helping the bear walk on slick ice.

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Polar bears are strong swimmers, when wet their fur gets slick like a wetsuit, they have slightly webbed paws, and their fat is buoyant like a life jacket keeping them afloat. Each of these features are important because polar bears often need to swim long distances to find its next meal. Polar bears may look slow, but they can run and swim much faster than humans. However, most of their pray can run or swim much faster than a them. Therefore, polar bears, by necessity, are skillful and cunning hunters. They hunt seals, which makes up most of its diet, from a floating platform called an ice floe. The rest of their diet consists of walruses, caribou, fish, ducks, foxes, and kelp.

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As a mother bear prepares for her cubs, she creates a snow cave called a den. Polar bears, unlike other bears do not hibernate; however, as a mother bear prepares for her cubs, she will go into a deep resting phase to conserve her energy. A mother can give birth to one, two or three cubs, but twins are the most common. A cub weighs less than 2 pounds at birth and is deaf and blind. However, they grow quickly and after a few weeks they can see and hear. After a few months the cubs leave the den with their mother, and she teaches them how to hunt and swim, these lessons will continue for 2 or 3 years.

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If you want to learn more about polar bears, you can visit the juvenile non-fiction section at the Auburn Hills Public Library. Below are some books that you can check out on the topic.

Polar Bears by Dr Hugh Roome Ice Bear by Nicole Davies
Knut How One Polar Bear Captivated the World by Juliana Isabella and Craig Hatkoff and Dr Gerald Uhlich A Polar Bears World by Caroline Arnold