Polar bears have long evolved to occupy and dominate its ecological niche primarily due to its unique adaptations. These adaptations are related to polar bear’s hunting techniques. For instance, unlike their grizzly cousins, polar bears have elongated and narrow skull so that they can reach out for the seals hidden in the sea ice. Whiskers are probably not one of the polar bear’s major adaptations. In fact, you might be wondering do polar bears have whiskers at all.
Do Polar Bears have Whiskers?
Surprisingly yes! Polar bears do possess whiskers but they are so tiny especially when we compare it with the polar bear’s size that they are barely noticeable. You can hardly observe polar bear whiskers unless you’re too close to it (which you probably don’t want to be).
Nonetheless, whether you can see it or not polar bears have got tiny whiskers on their face but they are not quite abundant. The polar bear’s whiskers or perhaps vibrissae are not only relatively stiff—they are short and pale mocha color. One can identify individual bears through their whisker’s spots (because they are clearly visible) that are actually small dark round areas and occur at the base of the whisker follicle. Researchers have also used whisker spots in African lion studies.
Generally whiskers in all other animals serve as touch sensors but they are not quite developed in polar bears. As a matter of fact, all bear species seem to lack whiskers that operate as touch sensors. Human’s whiskers do not function as touch sensors either. Polar bears might have possibly lost their whiskers in the evolutionary process long time ago. An icy muzzle could probably not just as effective.