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polar bear

The polar bear is one of the largest bears (males average 7-8 feet with a height of 5 feet at the shoulder, average weight is 900 lbs.) and the most carnivorous of the bear family. As its name suggests, the polar bear lives in the ice covered waters of the arctic region. Why do you think the polar bear has white fur? *

The polar bear is well suited to living on the ice. They eat seals, fish, seabirds, as well as grass, lichens, seaweeds and berries. They are protected from the arctic cold with a thick layer of fat, dense, water-repellent fur and stiff hair on the bottom of their huge snow-shoe-like feet. Their large, rotound body and short rounded ears are designed to conserve heat. Their keen eyesight and white fur helps them skillfully stalk their prey. Their fur and fat also make them buoyant in the water. They can stay submerged for up to 2 minutes.

Despite its great size the polar bear is very athletic. It can run up to 50 mph across rough ice, leap six-foot hurdles and climb steep ice cliffs. It can swim great distances at cruising speeds of six miles per hour.

* A polar bear's fur is actually transparent. Each hair is a clear, hollow tube which channels sunlight down to their black skin where the heat is absorbed.

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 Last Updated: Wednesday, 21-Dec-2005 15:21:05 Eastern Standard Time