15 Polar Bear Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

They aren't actually white...plus more fun and interesting polar bear facts.

Polar bears are Arctic marine animals with admirers all over the world! It’s not hard to see why either. They are amazing, huge, and kind of adorable. Here are some of the coolest polar bear facts about these magnificent creatures.

1. Leave me alone!

Polar bears are mostly solo travelers, so you won’t see them in groups. The exception is moms with their cubs. Cubs might stay with their mom for two and a half years before they go out on their own. Isn’t this a good start to cool polar bear facts?

2. Pass the meat please.

Polar bears have a more carnivorous diet, heavy in meat. As a comparison, black bears and grizzly bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. This makes hunting a challenge. Polar bears do a lot of hunting (mostly for seals) before they are successful.

3. Polar bears are big travelers.

Polar bears can travel more than 20 miles in a single day. They stay on the move constantly in order to hunt and find food.

4. Swim, swim, swim.

More cool polar bear facts…they travel a lot by swimming. They are excellent swimmers and can go a long time in the water, reaching speeds of up to 6 miles per hour! Their paws are especially equipped for swimming—it’s almost like having two front paddles!

5. Fat is a good thing!

If necessary, polar bears can go for weeks without eating, surviving on their stored body fat. This body fat can be several inches thick, which helps keep them warm and help them survive during tough times.

6. Patience is important.

Hunting can be challenging. So one tactic polar bears will use is that they sit at a breathing hole, waiting for seals to pop up from under the ice.

7. They aren’t white at all!

The hairs on polar bears are actually hollow tubes (called guard hair), so they might look white overall but they aren’t. Underneath all that gorgeous white fur, polar bears have black skin. This helps them soak up the sun for some extra warmth.

8. No need for rest!

Most people think of bears as being hibernating animals. However, polar bears do not hibernate. (Pregnant females will find a place to stay, though they aren’t truly hibernating.) Are you curious why polar bears are different? They are actually genetically different than black and brown bears. It’s fascinating—take a look. Multiple polar bear facts in one!

9. They’re wee little bears.

Polar bear babies are about a foot long and weigh just a pound or so when they are born in the winter. They often born in pairs (twins), too. They nurse on their mother’s milk for many months before emerging from the snow den.

10. They’re marine animals.

Yes, they are in the bear family, but they are also considered a marine animal by science. They do spend a lot of time in the sea, though.

11. Polar bears grunt.

You might think they roar, but not so much. Polar bears will grunt, hiss, and a few other sounds. If you’re curious, take a listen. These polar bear facts wouldn’t be complete without hearing them yourself.

12. Sniff, sniff.

These bears have such a powerful nose! They can smell a seal from up to 20 miles away! They rely a lot on their nose to help them hunt.

13. Have you heard of a grolar bear?

Grolar bears are a real thing. Essentially, this is a grizzly and polar bear mix, which has earned the name grolar bears or pizzly bears. This isn’t all that surprising since scientists say polar bears evolved from brown bears around 150,000 years ago. These cool polar bear facts will impress your friends.

15. Big, bigger, and biggest.

Male polar bears are big—they are the biggest type of bear in the world. They can weigh more than 1,700 pounds (or 800 kilograms), which is about twice the size of female polar bears.

15. They need help.

Sadly, polar bears are on the decline and are even on the vulnerable species list. A recent study found that they have declined by 40% in recent years. This is in large part because of climate change—there’s a lot less food with the melting ice. Learn more polar bear facts and how you can help through this WWF program.

Know any good polar bear facts?

Do you have any good polar bear facts to share? Go to Destination Nature’s Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

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