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Small bumps on the pads of a polar bear’s large, wide paws may add traction and help the bear walk on slippery ice.
Polar bears spend their days hunting and sleeping after a good meal.
Polar bears are great bed makers, building nest-like beds in seaweed piled up on the coast, digging deep caves of snow into the bluffs, or resting in a shallow snow bed and letting the blowing snow cover them, making for a snug day den.
The taxonomic name for polar bears is Ursus maritimus, which means sea bear, a fitting name for these champion swimmers.
Her stored fat reserves provide all the energy she needs to sustain herself and her cubs. The polar bear's nose is so powerful it can smell a seal on the ice 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, sniff out a seal's den that has been covered with snow, and even find a seal's air hole in the ice up to 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away. " Polar bears can see well underwater, spotting potential meals 15 feet (4.6 meters) away.
They have a nictitating membrane, or third eyelid, that allows them to see underwater and protects their eyes in blowing snow.
It costs a polar bear twice as much energy as most other mammals to move about in its Arctic environment.
This helps explain their preference for resting frequently and hunting for seals using ambush techniques rather than stalking their prey.
The polar bear is the newest of the eight bear species, and scientists believe that the polar bear evolved about 200,000 years ago from brown bear ancestors.
Individual polar bears have been observed sliding repeatedly downhill or across ice for no apparent reason other than just for the fun of it! Young bears also make a chuffing call to each other, which is infrequent in adult bears.
Except for females with cubs, polar bears are solitary.
They have been known to swim more than 60 miles (about 100 kilometers) without rest in search of food, using their broad front feet for paddling and their back legs like rudders to steer.
Unfortunately, due to loss of ice, the bears are now having to swim longer distances, as much as a few hundred miles, which takes a toll on their energy and fat storage.