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Polar Bears' Habitat: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Dina Albert
Some of the most magnificent animals in the world are bears. There are black bears and brown bears, but in this lesson you will learn about polar bears and their habitats.

The Polar Bear

Polar bears get their name from the Latin Ursus maritimus, where 'Ursus' means bear and 'maritimus' means sea. So polar bear, or Ursus maritimus, actually directly translates into 'sea bear'.

These beautiful white bears measure up to five feet tall when they are on four legs, but when they stand straight up on their hind legs they can reach up to 10 feet tall. Also, they weigh anywhere from 330 to 990 pounds. Believe it or not, polar bears' skin is actually black and their fur is actually transparent. They only look white to us because light reflects off the spaces between their hairs.

polar bear height

These bears are carnivores, which means they eat meat. Their favorite food is seal, but sometimes they will also eat beluga whales. If they are really in need of food and cannot hunt those two animals, polar bears will also eat berries, reindeer, and fish - but only if the seals and beluga whales are scarce. They are strong hunters that will swim after their prey, and they can swim up to 60 miles without resting. To have energy for one day, a polar bear needs to eat 4.4 pounds of fat from seals.


The Habitat of Polar Bears

With their heavy fur and specific diet, polar bears live in Arctic ring, which includes Canada, Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Norway. Because their fur catches the heat of the sun to keep them warm, polar bears are able to withstand between -29 degrees and -92 degrees Fahrenheit, and they are able to swim in sea water as cold as 28 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature at which sea water freezes. For the most part, polar bears live on sea ice.


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