Alaska Zoos, Aquariums and Wildlife

Polar Bears - photo by Rachel  MontielPolar Bears


Anchorage AK Zoo

Fun Facts - Polar Bears

  • Polar bears live on the shores of the Arctic Ocean and can be found in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway.
  • Polar bears have partially webbed feet and are able to swim six miles per hour for up to 60 miles without stopping.
  • No other four-footed animal can swim as fast as a polar bear.
  • Polar bears sometimes slide down slopes on their bellies.
  • A fully grown polar bear's worst enemy is the killer whale.
  • A polar bear's fur is not white. It is actually transparent. Each hair shaft is pigment free and transparent with a hallow core. Polar bears look white because the hallow core reflects visible light, same as snow and ice does. Their fur coloring is a great camouflage.
  • Polar bears are the largest land predators hunting mainly seal in the Arctic.
  • Polar bears are considered better hunters than any other kind of bear.
  • Polar bears primarily eat seals. Polar bears rest patiently at a seal’s breathing hole in the ice, waiting for a seal in the water to surface. Once the seal comes up, the bear will spring and sink its jagged teeth into the seal’s head.
  • Male Polar bears weigh up to 770 to 1,500 pounds and are 8 to 10 feet tall. Females weigh from 330 to 660 pounds and are 6 to 7 feet tall.
  • Unlike brown and black bears, polar bears, except for pregnant females, spend their winters hunting for seals.
  • Polar Bears make a den only if the weather is worse than usual.
  • A female Polar bear gives birth to one to three cubs in December and January in a den which is dug in snow and ice.
  • Polar bears are as intelligent as apes. They are highly cognitive creatures.
  • The Polar bears only enemies are human hunters and sometimes other bears. An adult Polar bear's mortality is very low, only 5% per year.
  • The U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the Soviet Union signed an agreement in 1973 to protect polar bears. Each of these countries either banned hunting or established rules for how many polar bears could be hunted within its own boundaries. These rules help keep polar bear populations stable. Today, 25,000 to 40,000 polar bears roam the Arctic.
  • Adult Polar bears can live up to 20 years in the wild and may live up to 40 years in captivity.

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