Polar Bear

Ursus maritimus

Polar bears are survival specialists in an extreme environment—the Arctic, where winter lasts six months and temperatures average -30ºF. Their large body size, layers of thick, hollow hair, and three to four inches of blubber provide insulation from the cold, in and out of the water.

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The bears’ streamlined shape, partially webbed forepaws, and buoyant layer of blubber help make them champion swimmers.

Polar bears depend completely upon the sea for their existence, spending most of their time on the pack ice from which they hunt their preferred prey. The polar bear is a skillful predator of seals, with the help of a keen sense of smell, powerful paws, and sharp claws.

Learn more: Through the use of assisted reproduction and sound scientific technologies, CREW scientists in the Animal Research Division are Saving Species with Science®.

International Polar Bear Day – February 27, 2017

Help us make International Polar Bear Day a global day of action for the bears by taking part in our Thermostat Challenge at home, work, or school. It’s simple: just lower your thermostat up on February 27th to reduce your carbon emissions and help polar bears. And then make every day a polar bear day by buying and installing a programmable thermostat or taking extra steps to reduce your energy consumption throughout the year.

Fact File

Species @ Risk Image
Species Survival Plan Image
where to see themWhere to see them: Lords of the Arctic
heightHeight: 7 to 11 ft
weightWeight: Up to 1,500 lbs
lifespanLifespan: 15 to 18 yrs in the wild
habitatHabitat: Arctic ice and coastal shores
dietDiet: Primarily seals, some walrus, lemmings, lichens, mosses, and carrion
exclamationRisk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Vulnerable)