|Polar Bear Range|
|Mother With Two Cubs|
|The black tongue and nose match all his skin under his fur|
|A dinner plate covered in tire tread|
They are also well adapted to walking across ice. The feet of a male polar bear can be 12" in diameter (about the size of a dinner plate). The bottoms of their paw have black pads which are covered with papillae, tiny bumps that act like the tread on a snow tire. They also have thick fur that gives them excellent traction. This makes it possible for them to creep along the ice to sneak up on a ringed seal. Two inch long claws top off these formidable paws and can be used for traction, to dig in thick ice, and to kill or disable prey. The broad paws also act like paddles to help the "sea bear" swim through artic waters.
|The nose knows|
|Ringed Seal Just Under the Ice|
|Seal Comes Up For Air|
|Bear Waits Patiently for Seal to Surface|
During the summer months when there is no ice, the bears can't hunt for seals. They have to be fat enough to survive until the ice returns. The ice has started to form later and melt earlier every year. This means that polar bears have less time to feed and more and more bears are dying of starvation. Mother polar bears are having more and more single births due to food shortages.
for more information on Polar Bears, check out the Polar Bears International Web Site.
Here's the video I took of our polar bear, Nikita at the Kansas City Zoo. He's a four year old bundle of energy, who already weighs 830lbs. He'll keep growing for another two years or more. He loves to swim up to the visitors at the window and push off.