Let me paint you a picture of the Arctic in winter: temperatures plummet to fifty below, it’s pitch dark by noon and white stretches in every direction. But polar bears, also called ice bears, have adapted to suit intense weather conditions of the Arctic.
Polar bears have longer necks to peek over the ice in search of appetizing seals, smaller ears than their brown bear counterparts that are less likely to freeze, and the bottoms of their feet are padded with thick fur to protect them from the chill of the ice.
Polar bears have an excellent sense of smell – they can sniff the air and place a seal on the ice miles away. And once they’ve target their prey, polar bears smash through packed ice, wait patiently for a seal to surface for a breath and then give it a fatal bite to the head.
Seals make up over three quarters of a polar bear’s diet. But seals need thick, floating pack ice to sustain their dens. And in recent years, global warming has caused Arctic summer sea ice to drop by 20 percent, forming a thinner, more fragmented ice world.
Tune in to Planet Carnivore: Polar Bears on Nat Geo WILD on October 15th at 10 pm et/pt to learn more about how these formidable predators are dealing with global warming.
Video Preview: The furry artic fox and the powerful polar bear both feast upon a delicious dinner of fresh seal meat.