The polar bear (ursus maritimus) is a marine mammal for it hunts seals on the sea ice all year round. Marine mammals typically swim underwater and they don’t feel comfortable on land. However white bears are not only remarkable swimmers they are equally adept to walking and running on land which makes them the only marine mammal to do so. The bear is capable to run as fast on land as any other bear species. Besides, polar bears are adapted to surviving extreme cold climate. Let us study what is the polar bear habitat.
Polar Bear Habitat Facts
Polar bears likely make homes on the sea ice in the Arctic interisland Archipelago. They will prefer to live in habitats that cover the continental shelf especially the regions where the sea ice floats on water. These habitats include open water in Arctic ice and polynyas. Polar bears are not territorial because they must move as the season changes.
They prefer sea ice and water over all the other habitats because bears must hunt seals while standing on the ice sheet. However ice bears are not lucky enough to find freshwater habitats since freshwater is extremely limited and it freezes in winter or become saline.
They prefer sea ice and water over all the other habitats because bears must hunt seals while standing on the ice sheet.
Bears make up the deficiency of water by eating fats in seal’s blubber. For the same reason white bears mostly occur near polar ice pack where seals are abundant.
There are certain areas of waters which freezes in winter and melts in summer. As a result of weather change seals migrate and polar bears must follow them. During summer the ice sheet in the Hudson Bay and James Bay disappear—this event is known as ice-floe breakup. The ice-breakup forces bears to live on land away from the prey. However the Chukchi and Beaufort seas remain frozen all year round.
Read More: Polar Bear Habitat for Kids
The cool breeze in the icy cold habitat presents one of the most, if not the most, inhospitable environments on earth. Here the temperature drops below the freezing point where no terrestrial mammal can dare to survive but polar bears.
White bears know how to walk and move around the offshore pack ice and search for the prey. Thankfully perhaps polar bear habitats are rarely occupied by humans. In such a remote location humans live in small colonies.
Many habitats are found in the Northern Canada along the island shores. They will travel as much as hundreds of miles in search of sea ice. Polar bears do this to remain closer to their food source. This is the only way polar bears can survive in the Arctic Circle. Bears that stay on land when the ice begins to disappear, will have to wait another season when the ice freezes again.
Polar Bear Habitat Facts – Video
- DO POLAR BEARS HIBERNATE?: Polar bear hibernation does not occur like black bear or grizzly bear hibernation. Black and grizzly bears, unlike polar bears, are true hibernators.
- HOW MUCH DO POLAR BEARS WEIGH?: Adult male bears weigh as much as 350–700 kg (772–1,543 lb) but the average weight measure around 385 to 410 kg (849 to 904 lb).
- HOW DO POLAR BEARS MOVE?: Polar bear travels vast distances using cues to navigate through the arctic habitat.