The Polar Bear - See Them At The Toronto Zoo, Toronto Ontario
The Polar Bear
Polar bears are considered the largest land carnivores in the world, matched only by very large individual Kodiak brown bears. Both sexes differ in size throughout their range; males being much larger than females and continuing to grow for a longer period of time. These bears have long, massive skulls, necks and bodies with long legs and large paws. The tongue is black and the eyes brown. The surface of the skin is also black. Fur colour varies slightly with the season. Male polar bears weigh between 400 – 600 kg, and have been recorded up to a maximum of 800 kg. Females are smaller than the males weighing up to 300 kg, and when pregnant up to 460 kg. Polar bears are 2.5 – 3.5 m long.
You will find the polar bear in all Arctic seas and coastlines. The Alaskan coast north of Bering Strait, off the coasts of Greenland and along the Eurasian Arctic coast from Spitsbergen to Wrangell Island. Rare stragglers reach Iceland. In Canada, they are found along the Arctic coasts from Alaska to Labrador and from the tip of James Bay to northern Ellesmere Island. Polar bears do roam as far as 150 kilometres inland into the coniferous forests, where they live very differently from the polar bears which belong to the high Arctic.
The ringed seal is by far the most common prey of the Polar Bear. They also eat bearded seal, harp seal and hooded seal. Young walrus are sometimes taken. During the summer months they feed upon the shoreline carrion, fish, mussels, crabs, starfish, lemmings and the eggs and nestling young of waterfowl and cliff-dwelling birds. They will also graze on kelp, grasses and eat mushrooms and crowberries.
Normally they are solitary animals outside the breeding season, the exception being a mother with cubs. Polar bears mate in mid-summer. They give birth to one to four cubs somewhere between late November and early January.
If you enjoed this article on the Polar Bear, check out this one on the Arctic Wolf, click here.
* Information provided by The Toronto Zoo, Toronto, Ontario Canada. The Zoo has over 5,000 animals representing over 500 species. With 287 hectares (710 acres) The Toronto Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world.