Everything To Know About How Polar Bears Thrive In The Winter

It’s perhaps no secret that polar bears have captivated humans for generations. In fact, they were first written about in 57 CE, with Ancient Romans fascinated by the great white bears. Still, there’s a lot to know about how polar bears thrive in winter that shows them in an entirely new light.

Polar bears are built to thrive in the cold

Of course, one of the biggest ways that polar bears thrive in the winter comes from the fact they know how to survive on the ice and snow. It’s believed there are 23,000 polar bears left in the wild who live in 19 populations found across the Arctic, where harsh winds, snowstorms, and a lack of daylight hours for much of the year make it one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. Temperatures can drop as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit, but bears are covered with 4.5 inches of blubber and two layers of fur to keep warm. They also walk slowly – covering up to 20 miles a day – to help them avoid slipping through the ice as they search for food.

Being opportunists means polar bears eat a varied diet
Source: David Hemmings

Being opportunists means polar bears eat a varied diet

Being at the top of the food chain means polar bears don’t have to worry about other things ending their lives. Still, they have to work hard to get enough food to keep warm throughout the winter. Most of the time that means snacking on seals, but polar bears are also opportunistic, meaning they will eat anything that comes their way. Birds nests and reindeer are known to be on the menu, but polar bears aren’t adapted to hunting on land. Instead, they much prefer to hunt on the ice, where they really come to life.

Polar bears are incredibly protective of their cubs

Most parents are pretty protective of their children, with polar bears being no exception. In fact, mothers will often end the lives of anything that even looks at their cubs the wrong way as some of the most protective parents in the animal kingdom. Males and females typically stay together for a week before they go their separate ways, with the mother left to raise the cubs alone. Most of the time, polar bears welcome two cubs, who will stay with their mom for two years as they learn how to hunt, clean, and survive before going off into the world on their own.

Climate change is having a big effect on polar bears
Source: Andrew Watson

Climate change is having a big effect on polar bears

Climate change is a scary time, as many animals and environments are starting to change faster than ever before in our lifetimes. Polar bears have been highly affected by it all, with ice melting too quickly and their hunting grounds getting smaller and smaller. Still, things might not be entirely bad. Researchers have shown that of the 19 populations, five were stable in numbers, while two were actually growing in numbers.

Learning everything to know about how polar bears thrive in the winter just goes to show how incredible these animals really are.