When it comes to land-dwelling carnivores, polar bear is indeed the biggest animal and adaptations of a polar bear are really something exciting to know. Even though polar bears live in hostile and frozen conditions, yet they are perfectly designed to survive in such temperatures. They adapt themselves in order to adjust the temperature inside their bodies, stalk their prey easily and can also maneuver on a thick layer of snow. In the blazing sunlight of summer, such animals normally cast off their heavy coat which was previously used to protect them from chilly weather.
They tend to do this by means of molting process and in this way allow themselves to stay chill even in hot conditions. When polar bears start consuming their food, their claws tend to help them and rip their victims open in a flash. Polar bears often have to go swimming in icy waters as they manage to do it by means of their beautiful toes having special swimming membranes. They also have a powerful smelling sense and a good vision with the help of which they catch their prey. So let’s enjoy few of these exciting adaptations of a polar bear that are quite distinct in their appearances and design.
Top 7 Adaptations Of A Polar Bear
With a massive body structure, polar bears are larger than their counterparts i.e. grizzly bears. As a result, the heat does not escape from the body of a polar bear and keeps it warm. Scientifically speaking, such animals possess a high ratio of volume to surface area due to which their skin smoke out minimum amount of heat from their body, according to Dr. Andrew Derocher. It’s a usual phenomenon that is readily found in animals living in icy environments and hence one of the usual adaptations of a polar bear.
Tail And Ears
If an animal has an external part that sticks out from the body of that animal, it may influence the volume to surface area ratio. As a result, the skin of an animal dispels more heat. However in case of polar bear, the polar bear tail and ears are quite small thereby allowing relatively minimum surface area as compare to the bigger ears. Consequently, it enables the animal to conserve heat inside its body.
Learn more: Do Polar Bears Have Tails
Layer Of Fat
With a 4-inch dense coating of fat spread out over the body under the polar bear skin, the unpleasantly cold weather cannot make a way into the polar bear. So it’s one of the most important adaptations of a polar bear. Though this layer normally protects a polar bear yet it also keeps them warm and cozy in frozen conditions. As compare to their counterparts, polar bear’s milk contains a lot of useful protein and fat which keeps their cubs safe from cold weather.
Pattern Of Eating
A polar bear is a flesh-eating mammal that gobbles foliage along with other meat like whales and seals. Since red meat contains even more calories as compare to undergrowth so it gives him great calories with every single bite of meal. These animals take high-fat diet that help giving them extra strength in chilly weather. Hence such diet is indispensable for the existence of polar bear and without which they would not last for too long in these frozen temperatures. Hence, one of the useful adaptations of a polar bear. A mother polar bear oozes high-fat milk from her mammary glands that contains 31% fat in it. So when cubs slurp this milk, it gives them extra strength by maintaining the temperature inside their body and also helps in their growth.
The body of a polar bear is insulated with a dense fur that extends out to the whole body apart for its nose. Unlike other bears, polar bears possess even more compact and thick fleece. The fleece along with thick hair keeps them warm even while passing through chilly waters. Besides, this fleece also tends to mirror light and appearing even whiter thereby disguising him perfectly under the snow. Every year, polar bear changes the shade of their fleece as it appears snowy in winter and creamy shade in fall. In chilly conditions of winter, the fleece of polar bear works like a stove as it takes hot air direct from sunlight and keeps him warm. Also since the crust below this covering is dark so it also helps in absorbing heat from sunlight. This polar bear skin color is one of the fine adaptations of a polar bear as he hides himself in the snow while stalking.
Learn more: Why Do Polar Bears have Small Ears?
Water Proof Hair
The hair of polar bear is just like a jacket which releases water as the animal finishes off swimming. In this way, such animals are able to keep themselves warm and their body does not become wet for too long. As polar bear pops up from water, he tends to turn over his body on the snow and their fur manages to get dry as a bone by means of oil which is present inside their fur. The underlying principle is that as long as water stays, it will try to absorb the heat of a body and so animal will start feeling cold. That’s why as polar bears rise from water, they try to dry out themselves as quickly as possible. Therefore hair works as one of the wonderful adaptations of a polar bear.
Big Anti-Slip Paws
If you ever happen to witness the paws of a polar bear, you will come to realize that their paws are huge. These paws work like snowshoes on heavy snow, balance the weight of the animal thereby enabling polar bears to navigate easily even on wafer-thin ice layer. Thus, one of the great adaptations of a polar bear is it’s paws. These paws are extremely helpful while strolling because they have special footpads insulated by little smooth lumps known as papillae. Besides polar bears also have dense and curled claws that allow them to walk easily without getting slip or slide into the snow. These features enable them to sprint even on heavy snow and also allow him to halt at any moment. Finally, there is a dense fleece over these paws that not only keep them warm under shivering cold but also provide enough adhesive friction while sprinting on gleaming surface.
Read More about Polar Bears:
- Do Polar Bears Hibernate
- Are Polar Bears Endangered?
- Why Are Polar Bears Endangered
- Information About Polar Bears
- Polar Bear Facts For Kids
Polar Bear is an amazing animal living against the extremes of the weather. What do you think about the adaptations of a polar bear? Share your thoughts in the comments below.