It’s the biggest land predator alive today, with 25,000 to 40,000 roaming throughout the Arctic region. Female polar bears reach sexual maturity at roughly five years of age and their offspring are relatively much smaller than human infants, weighing only around a pound at birth.
They often give birth to two live young that spend the first winter months of their lives in a den dug out of a snowdrift. They appear in the spring and within a year can grow to man-size if provided with an abundance of food. The typical male bear will grow to weigh over 1400 pounds and stand ten feet tall.
A fact about polar bears that you may not know is that their fur is not white, but that every hair is a colourless hollow tube that reflects sunlight during daylight hours. This serves to maintain the bear warm and since the coat is oily it doesn’t mat when wet, making it effortless to shake off excess water and ice that may form after swimming.
Polar bears eat mainly seals which they hunt on the pack ice, either by waiting for them to surface in their breathing holes in the ice or by stalking them. On occasion they will hunt beneath the ice for their prey. They have slightly webbed front feet to aid them with forward movement in the water, while they steer with their powerful back legs.
Their only predator is man. Men are starting to mine in the arctic for petroleum and coal, encroaching in their natural habitat, which makes food more challenging to find.