The arctic animals have always fascinated animal lovers around the world. I love to spend times reading about the animals online. Although especially dogs but animals as a whole is what I have always loved to read about. As I was scrambling around the web a couple of weeks ago, I came across something quite interesting about some amazing arctic animals. and polar bear was in the list. Just thought of sharing what I came to know about polar bear above what I knew about it.
Oldest Known fossil record for polar bear: I didn't know this. The oldest known polar bear fossil is less than about 100,000 years old. Researchers assume that polar bears have developed during the Pleistocene era. According to them the root of their evolution is brown bear, which is why, they say that brown bears and polar bears are so closely related. They have always produced fertile offspring in experimenting with cross breeding these two types of bears.
1. Order - Carnivora.
2. Family - Ursidae. All bears belong to this family. The family is divided into three subfamilies:
Ursinae (includes polar bears black bears, sloth bears, brown bears, and sun bears)
Ailuropodinae (includes giant pandas)
Tremarctinae (includes spectacled bears)
3. Genus, species - Ursus Maritimus (which is the Latin word for "Sea Bear")
According to the polar bear specialty group of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the polar bear population in the world today ranges between 20,000-25,000, being distributed all through the arctic region in, as many as. 19 subpopulations. Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia are amongst the major polar bear populations region. Vigorous changes in climatic condition is one of the major menaces to the polar bear survival. The loss of sea ice results a shortage of food for these animals, causing higher mortality rate among cubs. There has been a noticeable declination in growth rate in cubs too. Lethal removal and poaching of polar bears by human are amongst the other major menaces to their existence.
On May 14 2008, polar bears have been enlisted as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species. This means that polar bears are threatened with the extinction from global warming. Polar bears are among the largest predators in the world.
Polar bears comes in varied tints of white, ranging from pure white right after a heavy molt to yellowish hue that results mainly from solar oxidation. Stain of oil from seal blubber is another reason that the coat of polar bears sometimes look pale yellow. Their eye rings, lips and nose are jet black, unless otherwise they are albino.
Physique and life span:
Well muscular structure gives the animal a decent look. The fairly long neck and narrow skull give the animals a streamlined front structure, which helps him to submerge deep into the water and swim well. The front feet is fairly large and flat, forming an oar-like structure which aid him to swim faster than many arctic animals. They have a thick layer of blubber which provides them insulation and buoyancy.
- Height 8 to 10 feet
- Weight Adult males 550-1700 lbs; females 200 - 700 lbs
- Lifespan 20 - 25 years
Polar bears loves to spend major part of their time on hunting and denning. They are usually solitary as adult, unless its time for breeding and rearing. The non-breeding polar bears (irrespective of genders) do not hibernate during winter. Pregnant polar bears usual den, which is why they eat up a lot during summer to build up the sufficient fat reserves for self maintenance and giving birth to cubs. Polar bears generally give birth cubs weighing approximately one-pound and then nurse them until they acquire a body weight of about 20-30 pounds. It's after they stop nursing their cubs completely that the polar bears emerge out of their den... during March or April. The responsibility of choosing the right denning site is soldered by the females.The mating season of the polar bears starts off late March up till May. Gestation period is maximum about 8 month (counting the delayed implantation). The most common litter size is 2 cubs, but the size may rise up to 4 cubs per litter.