Polar bear

Polar bears are the largest species of bear in the world. Compared to other bears polar bears have: a long narrow head; a head that is relatively small compared to the body; small, heavily furred ears; claws that are short and strong; canine teeth that are long; and cheek teeth that are sharper. These features have been selected for in polar bears as a consequence of their almost purely carnivorous way of life. The polar bear has a circumpolar distribution, but is largely restricted to areas that have sea ice during a significant part of the year. Polar bears are typically off-white in colour, but vary from grey, through shades of white to yellow.

Contents

Description

Polar bears are the largest species of bear in the world. They are markedly sexually dimorphic, with males being larger than females. Males weigh between 300–700 kg while females weigh 150–350 kg. The length of adult polar bears varies from 180–260 cm. Weight varies dramatically seasonally, especially among females that can more than double their body weight from the spring to the late summer. Polar bears are typically off-white in colour, but vary from grey, through shades of white to yellow. Adult males can be distinguished from females on the basis of their larger size, but more reliably on their more powerful necks that looks wider than their heads. Compared to other bears polar bears have: a long narrow head; a head that is relatively small compared to the body; small, heavily furred ears; claws that are short and strong; canine teeth that are long; and cheek teeth that are sharper. These features have been selected for in polar bears as a consequence of their almost purely carnivorous way of life.

  • Weight

    400–600 kg (male)
    150–250 kg (female)

  • Size

    240–260 cm (male)
    120–130 cm (female)

  • Life expectancy

    25 yr (male)
    30 yr (female)

  • In other languages

    Isbjørn (Norwegian)
    Eisbär (German)
    Ours blanc (French)
    Ursus maritimus (Latin)