Answers to yesterday’s quiz question - Polar bear paws are remarkably adapted for life in the Arctic environment but can you identify an adaptation their paws have that enables them to survive in such a harsh environment?
- Measuring up to 12 inches across, their enormous paws help to distribute their weight when walking on thin ice.
- Their footpads are covered by papillae which help to assist with grip when moving on the slippery ice.
- Polar bears also have long fringes of fur between their toes and footpads which help to prevent them from slipping as well as providing some protection from the freezing surface.
- Each toe has a non-retractile, thick and curved claw which can measure around 2 inches long. These claws are used for grasping prey as well as for traction when running and climbing.
- Their paws are also well designed for movement in water. The forepaws of polar bears are slighty webbed and are used as paddles when swimming with their hind paws acting as rudders to help steer.
Photo source: Valarie Abbott
The Long Fast Begins
The first satellite-collared polar bears from Western and Southern Hudson Bay are now ashore. Bears in seasonal ice areas conserve energy and live off their fat reserves until the ice forms again in late fall.
Read more at Polar Bears International