26 Fascinating Polar Bear Facts For Kids To Know

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Some polar bear facts for kids might pique your kids’ curiosity to learn more about the life of these Arctic creatures. Polar bears, habitants of the Arctic, are cute and fluffy animals, the largest land carnivores known to humankind. They look cuddly and adorable in pictures, but when you see them in person, they might look intimidating just by their size. They are as tall as eleven feet and weigh over 1700 pounds, making them huge and frightening (1). If you want to teach your kids about polar bears, you can read our post, as we’ve summarized various facts about these Arctic creatures.

Basic Information About Polar Bears For Kids

Introduce your children to this huge beast with some of these basic facts (2) (3).

  • Where do polar bears live?

You are most likely to find polar bears in the north of the Arctic Circle. Some of them may be found in Alaska, Greenland, and Russia, while a few can be spotted in the northern islands, such as Svalbard. About 60-80% of the world’s total polar bear population is known to be found in Canada, and it is estimated that there are 22,000-31,000 polar bears in the wild.

  • What do polar bears look like?

Polar bears are heavy, four-legged creatures with a long, pointed snout that lets them easily hunt their favorite food, ringed seals, in the cold Arctic environment. The polar bear’s head and body are elongated and more streamlined when compared with other bear species. This, combined with their wide paws, helps them swim easily.

  • What is the actual color of polar bears?

The fur of the polar bear looks white, but it is not. Polar bear skin is black, and the fur is transparent. The strands of fur have hollow cores, and these make the bear appear white when they reflect the white color of the snow. The transparent fur also helps the bear stay warm because the sun’s heat is reflected down the hair shaft towards the bear’s skin.

  • What do polar bears eat?

The favorite food of polar bears is ringed seal. The seal fat helps them keep warm in the harsh winter. Polar bears wait patiently beside breathing holes in the ice for their seal meal. When the seals pop up for air, the bear bites and drags them out onto the ice to eat them.

  • Do polar bears scream when they poop?

It’s a funny myth that does the rounds, but no one knows if polar bears scream or roar when they poop. These bears are wild animals, and given their size and weight, they can be dangerous too. No researcher has gotten close enough to a pooping polar bear to state with certainty that these animals make any kind of noise.

25+ Facts About Polar Bears For Kids

Here are some interesting facts about polar bears that children would love to know (4) (5) (6) (7)(8) (9) (10) (11) (12).

  1. The Latin name for polar bears is “Ursus maritimus.” The term literally means ‘sea bear,’ and it is given to polar bears because they live most of their lives in and around the ocean.
  1. A group of polar bears is called a celebration!
  1. A polar bear baby is just about a foot long when it is born. But it grows fast thanks to the fat content in the mother’s milk.
  1. Polar bears almost entirely subsist on meat, and a reduction in the number of seals poses a significant threat to polar bears because they cannot sustain themselves for long on other foods such as whale carcasses, walruses, or bird eggs.
  1. Polar bear moms typically give birth to twins. In the cruel conditions of the Arctic environment, this improves the chances of at least one baby bear surviving.
  1. Mama bears usually keep their cubs with them for about two and a half years, teaching them the skills they need to survive in harsh climatic conditions.
  1. The polar bear is the only bear species that is deemed a marine mammal. However, they are only partially aquatic. Compared with other aquatic mammals, polar bears are not as skilled in the water.
  1. The footpads of polar bears are designed perfectly for walking on slippery ice. They have tiny bumps called papillae all over the footpad, which lets them get a good grip while walking on the slippery surface. Their thick, sharp, and strong claws let them hold on to the ice.
  1. While polar bears are not as fast as seals, they can reach a speed of six miles per hour in the water, which is impressive given the animal’s size.
  1. Polar bears have to work extremely hard for their food. Just about 2% of their hunting expeditions meet with success. Their favorite prey, the ringed seals and bearded seals, are not easy to catch.
  1. Polar bears are listed as a vulnerable species, and the biggest threat to their existence comes from climate change.
  1. Polar bears lived 130,000 years ago, and we know this because the oldest known polar bear fossil is that old.
  1. The polar bear tears into the flesh of its prey with 42 sharp teeth, which include jagged ones at the back and large canines.
  1. Polar bears have a strong sense of smell. They can smell a seal that is 20 miles away on the ice. They can even smell a seal underwater from half a mile away.
  1. Polar bear males often weigh twice as much as females.
  1. A four-inch-thick layer of fat allows polar bears to stay warm in the chilly environs they populate. The seal fat they consume further helps in retaining this fat layer as a cushion against the biting cold.
  1. If you find a polar bear taking a roll in the snow, they are probably taking a ‘bath.’ This is how these bears keep their fur clean.
  1. The front paws of the polar bear are slightly webbed. This helps them swim.
  1. Scientists can extract the DNA of a polar bear and the latest seal they ate from just their footprints in the snow.
  1. Male polar bears reach full size between the ages of eight and fourteen and females between the ages of five and six.
  1. Strong swimmers that they are, polar bears are capable of swimming 30 miles at one go in the chilly water without trouble.
  1. Polar bears beg for food by approaching low to the ground, slowly circling the carcass, and touching the nose of the bear in charge!
  1. Female polar bears can go for up to eight months without food using the stored body fat to tide them over a long fasting period. They can slow down their metabolism in such situations.
  1. A polar bear can eat 100 pounds of blubber (fat of mammals) in a single sitting.
  1. Polar bears can live for about 25 years in the wild. When they grow too weak to hunt properly, they die of starvation.
  1. Polar bear numbers are estimated to decline by 30% by 2050.

Polar bears are loved by children and adults alike. Unfortunately, the Arctic polar bear has been listed as a threatened species in the US Endangered Species Act of 2008. Introducing your children to these interesting polar bear facts for kids will help them understand the importance of doing their bit to reduce the adverse effects of global warming. Reading books about polar bears or showing them documentaries are some interesting ways to make them environmentally aware. Exposing them to such content may encourage them to explore more about nature.

Key Pointers

  • Polar bears are nearly recluse creatures that are only found in the Arctic region of the Earth.
  • They hunt seals for food, but only 2% of their hunting sessions are met with success.
  • These strong swimmers are decreasing in numbers due to climate change, which has led to increased global temperatures.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Polar Bear; The National Wildlife Federation
2. Polar Bear Population;World Wildlife Fund
3. Why do polar bears have white fur? And nine other polar bear facts;World Wildlife Fund
4. Facts; World Wildlife Fund
5. Ten Fascinating Facts about Polar Bears;Oceana
6. Birth & Care of Young;SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
7. Top 10 Facts About Polar Bears; World Wildlife Fund – UK
8. Are Polar Bears Endangered?; Polar Bears International
9. One small fossil, one giant step for polar bear evolution;University of California Museum of Paleontology
10. Diet and Eating Habits; Polar Bears International
11. Hunting and Predators;Polar Bears International
12. Polar Bear Ursus maritimus; San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
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Beth Sullivan

(M.Ed in Special Education)
Beth Sullivan is an education consultant and president of Deep Roots Learning Solutions, Inc. She specializes in literacy instruction and works primarily with students learning challenges, including dyslexia, ADHD and autism. After working in schools as a special educator for more than 10 years, Beth has shifted her focus to supporting individual students and their families through online tutoring. She... more

Bharathi V

Bharathi is a content developer and writer with over 20 years of experience in creating original content for e-books, articles, websites, blogs, ads, brochures, company profiles, speeches, business presentations, instructional design and more. She has also edited financial papers and books. She writes kids’ education-based articles for MomJunction. Bharathi is associated with The Hindu group of publications in their STEP program,... more

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