My arctic animal is the polar bear! Here's a preview of some of the fun facts from my report.
~ Polar bears have black skin.
~ Polar bears are excellent swimmers and have been spotted swimming 50 miles from land or ice. Their blubber not only helps keep them warm but also helps them float. Their average swimming speed is 6 mph.
~ Polar bears have a dense undercoat and longer guard hairs to insulate them. Their fur is not actually white. Each hair is transparent with a hollow core, which reflects light a lot like snow and ice do.
~ When clean and in sunlight after their spring/summer molting period, polar bears look their whitest. Before they molt, the oils in the seals they eat can make them look yellowish.
|a bear before molting|
|a bear after molting|
~ In the warmer climates of zoos, polar bears sometimes turn greenish because colonies of algae grow in their hollow hairs. This doesn't hurt the polar bear, but it looks funny.
~ Polar bear footpads are covered with small bumps called papillae to give them traction on ice.
~ Polar bears are the largest bear species. On all fours, adults stand between 3.5 and 5 feet tall. Adult females typically weigh between 330 - 650 lbs, while adult males typically weigh between 775 - 1,200 lbs. Standing on their hind legs, adult males can often reach heights of 10 feet!
~ Mother polar bears have twin cubs most often, but sometimes they have singlets or triplets.
~ Newborn cubs are blind and toothless and only weigh about a pound.