Saturday, July 28, 2012

Animal Spotlight: The Polar Bear

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is the world's largest extant, terrestrial carnivore, with males growing up to 1,500 pounds.  Like many animals that spend a good amount of time in the water, their feet are partially webbed to aid in swimming.  Although the fur of the polar bear is white, to help it blend into the ice and snow when it is hunting seals, its skin underneath is black, to aid in heat absorption.

In the picture above, it certainly looks like the polar bear is just enjoying itself, and having a good time.  While both of these may be true, the polar bear is actually cleaning its fur, presumably after a kill, given the blood-stained snow off in the left of the picture.  Below the picture is a link to a video clip from BBC's "Planet Earth," narrated by one of my personal heroes, David Attenborough.  In the video, make sure to watch for the fur cleaning.

This is the link to the Planet Earth link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwZH_aT0FGI

The polar bear, due to its immense size and lack of natural predators, fears nothing, humans included.  This, coupled with a natural, and insatiable, curiosity, often brings bears and humans into contact.  The video clip below is from another BBC show, called "Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice."  I first saw this show when we were in South Carolina this summer, and found it really interesting!  This clip is one of my favorite parts from it.

Polar Bears Attacking Spy Cameras:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvduCPXO_FE

Finally, we have another interesting YouTube video that I discovered today.  Watch and enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE-Nyt4Bmi8

The polar bear's range covers five different countries: Russia, Denmark owned Greenland, Norway owned Svalbard, Alaska, and Canada.

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