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polar bear

polar bears

Polar bears have a dark skin covered with unpigmented fur.

Polar Bear Definition

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a large bear species with a smaller head and ears and a longer neck than the other bear species. The skin is black but covered with unpigmented fur. Thus, the pelage appears whitish or yellowish, sometimes even brownish, depending on the light condition or the season. (Ref.1) The body frame (stocky and large) is similar to that of the brown bear except that the latter has shoulder humps whereas the polar bear lacks them. Polar bears are excellent swimmers. The large front paws are efficient for swimming. The soles of their feet are also covered with fur to provide insulation and traction while walking on ice and snow. (Ref.1)

Polar bears show sexual dimorphism. Males are larger than females, about more than half the size of females. (Ref.2) The weight of adult males ranges between 400 kg and 600 kg, sometimes may even exceed 800kg. As for adult females, the weight ranges between 200 kg and 300 kg. As for height, adult males typically measure up to 260 cm and females, up to 210 cm. (Ref.2)

Polar bears feed chiefly on seals and then to a lesser degree, hunt to feed on belugas, narwhals, and walruses. They also eat some vegetation (e.g. kelp and grass) but only when they are along the coast. (Ref.2)

Polar bears live throughout the Arctic region. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the species as vulnerable species. (Ref.1)

For more photos and info on polar bears, especially their habitat, distribution, reproduction, and social system: see Polar Bear – Bears of the World.

Scientific classification:
• Kingdom: Animalia
• Phylum: Chordata
• Class: Mammalia
• Order: Carnivora
• Family: Ursidae
Scientific name: Ursus maritimus

See also


  1. Ursus maritimus (polar bear). (2020). Animal Diversity Web. https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ursus_maritimus/
  2. Polar Bear. (2017). International Association for Bear Research and Management. https://www.bearbiology.org/bear-species/polar-bear/

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