We’ve covered our Arctic bear buddies before when we looked at 10 facts about these magnificent creatures. Now we’ll take a look at what these guys get up to in their daily lives to survive this harsh environment. Known as the Sea Bear, this white bundle of snow flakes is the only bear that spends so much time in and around the water. Unlike its cousins, Polar Bears mainly eat goodies that come from the sea. The hearty goodness of Seals, Walrus, Whales, Sea-birds, Kelp and Fishies make up most of its diet. For an Apex predator there’s no better feeling than showing who rules the Arctic.
They Hunt… Polar bears are very sneaky when it comes to sniffing out a meal. They do just that… smelling a meal in the Arctic air from up to 2 km away… they can stroll up to within eye sight of a poor innocent little seal and cunningly hide behind a block of ice or mound of snow and swim up behind the seal and snatch him before he gets away. Alternatively, the Polar Bear just sits for hours by a breathing hole in the ice and waits for an unsuspecting seal to pop its little nose out from under the water and snap! These are examples of active and lazy hunting. Whatever it takes to get a meal!
Check out this cunning Polar Bear stalking a seal!
They Mate… Polar Bears like any animal like to make babies. This courting period usually lasts a few months between April and May when food sources are plentiful and male bears feel at their most energetic. Not a coincidence this, because big male bears will fight violently with each other in competition for a sexy looking female Polar Bear. Male polar bears get so frisky that sometimes they will track down a female over hundreds of kilometres.
They Sleep… When the deed is done the little miss polar bear goes on a bit of a feeding frenzy. Like pregnant ladies they get the urge to fatten themselves up ready for the baby and most importantly the long gestation and hibernation period that will take place. They can easily double their body weight in preparation for this magnificent feat. Come September time the mother bear digs out a nice snow den where she can have her young and feed them well whilst waiting for the ice-flows and seals to return in the spring. That’s a long sleep and a good way to lose weight for mama bear.
They Play… when not out hunting or sleeping down in their den Polar Bears like to fool around. Play fighting with each other or simply rolling around in fresh snow and playing hide and seek. The lovely little cubs of course can exhibit this behaviour better than most, often picking up discarded bones or sea wood or sea weed and messing around with it trying to amuse themselves. Most of this play can be attributed to learning but it is also known to be a form of relaxation and curiosity. Polar Bears like to have fun to you know!
Watch them play around with disguised cameras!
They Die… Only about half of all cubs that are born will survive their first year. The environment and competition for females and food is so high that male bears will often kill cubs or even other adult bears. It doesn’t help that Eskimos are still hunting them trying to cling on to their traditional lifestyles. Declining Territory, Warmer average temperatures and depleting food stocks all lead to an increasing amount of Polar Bear deaths.
Are they intelligent? It is often argued that Polar Bears show a lot of intelligence but mainly these observations are a combination of curiosity and basic instinct. Knowing how to navigate around ice floes and stalk out prey is simply built into the Polar Bear DNA. The species would not survive if it couldn’t figure out simple tasks and act on unusual environments. Every animal has this capability, in the same way monkeys and humans can learn emotion and feelings, Polar Bears can navigate ice floes and know what to eat.
Are they endangered? Yes, they are endangered although their numbers have been known to be altered to show there are far less out there than there actually are. But with continual hunting and trespassing by humans on their territory and with the melting and ever extreme and unpredictable climate it’s getting more difficult for these tough guys to survive.
Do we love them and are they cool? Yes, we love Polar Bears, they are cute bundles of soft white fluff and yes, they are über cool!