With their long, thick white fur, lanky bodies and large paws, polar bears are an easily-recognizable species. They have also become "poster bears" for climate change and conservation due to their dependence on icy habitats for survival. You can learn more about polar bears through the links and facts below.
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Polar bears are the largest bear species. They can grow to a height of 8-11 feet and a length of about 8 feet. They also weigh about 500-1,700 pounds. As you might guess, polar bears are in the same family (Ursidae) as other bear species. To learn more about polar bear classification, feeding, reproduction, and conservation, click here
Just the facts, please. Did you know that polar bears are the only bear species that are considered to be marine mammals
? This is because of their webbed feet - a characteristic that also helps them swim long distances, which may become more necessary if Arctic ice continues to decrease. Click here
for ten fascinating facts about polar bears.
Let's cut to the chase. If you want to see a polar bear, where should you go? Hint: better bring some warm clothes. Polar bears live in Arctic
regions - they are native to Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland/Denmark and Norway. If you don't feel like traveling to a country in the Arctic to see a polar bear, this article
also includes links to a couple video cameras where you can watch polar bears in action from the comfort of your home or office.
The Arctic is a term used to refer to the region between the North Pole and the Arctic Circle, an imaginary line that stretches around the Earth at 66 degrees, 32 minutes North latitude. The Arctic is a cold, icy region, inhabited by many types of marine life, including polar bears, whales, pinnipeds (including seals and walruses), fish, and invertebrates, and plankton. There are also millions of people who live in this region, despite its cold conditions throughout the year.
Do you know a polar bear's favorite type of prey? Hint: it's furry and blubbery. Learn the answer here
Polar bears are in the same family as other bear species. There are 8 species of bears. These range in size from the brown bear and polar bear at about 2,000 pounds to sun bears, which weigh about 300 pounds. Six of the eight bear species are classified as vulnerable or threatened. Click here
to learn more about bears from About.com's Guide to Animals.
Want to see some pictures of polar bears? Check out this image gallery
from the Animals GuideSite, which features images of polar bears quarreling, sleeping, lounging and walking.
from the Guide to Adventure Travel features information on ecotours in Churchill, which is in Manitoba, Canada. Guides will take you to see polar bears in the summer or winter.
On the lighter side of things, here
are some great images of a polar bear and huskies at play. Did a wild polar bear really play with some sled dogs as the viral email says? Learn what the About.com Guide to Urban Legends thinks about this story.
Those with a strong stomach can check out another viral email - one that has been circulating since June 2006 that describes a supposed polar bear attack. Is it a true story? (I hope not, given the wounds. Yuck.)