The Polar Bear and Adaptations
The polar bear is seen by many as the beautiful white bear that lives in the cold and ice of the areas within the North Pole. They may never look beyond the beauty to see the animal has progressed through natural selection to become a creature that endures and thrives in the frigid temperatures and prolific ice. The polar bear has adapted in various ways such as temperature regulation, hunting skills, movement in water and on ice. The bears white coat makes hunting easier for the bear, acts as camouflage, because its prey has a hard time distinguishing it from its background.
The polar bear has little in the way of predators insuring its position towards the top of the food chain. Kolinski (n. d. ), “Because polar bears are nearly the largest bear in the family ursidae, and remain as one of the largest mammalian animals, very few, if any organisms prey upon the polar bear. However, if predation does occur, predators are of equal or greater complexity. Predators of Ursus Maritimus are usually members of the family ursidae or human beings” (para. Interactions). The polar bear eats an extremely high fat diet consisting of seals and other meats.
The high fats provide an extra accumulation of fat under the skin that allows the bear to stay warmer but also to help the animal sustain its functions when going long periods of time without proper nutrition. The polar bear has adapted to the cold by having a very heavy coat of fur that helps to keep them warm and also to regulate body temperature. The polar bear also has hollow hairs that absorb the sun’s runs and help keep the bear warm. This is hastened along by the black skin the bear has underneath its deceptive transparent coat. The polar bear’s small round ears are designed to help prevent the animal from losing body heat.
The larger the ears the more surface area to lose heat. All of these characteristics combined add up to a higher body temperature because of the adaptations. As noted in the diagram the polar bear has large furry paws that aid him in walking on snow and ice. They serve the bear as a solid foundation for movement and speed. He has hair over all parts of his body except his nose and the pads of his feet which offer even more traction. On those same paws the diagram mentions long claws for tearing apart prey. These long claws are a necessity for carnivores such as the polar bear.
Without them they would be unable to secure adequate food to maintain their size and strength. The diagram also notes a large muscular hump that is over the polar bears shoulders. This muscular hump serves as a powerhouse of strength for the polar bear and it allows the bear to swim efficiently with speed. It also serves as the strength to tear the prey it feasts on apart for food. The bear is also a fast runner which is enhanced by this powerhouse of strength giving him the ability to overtake his prey when chasing him. The polar bears skills when in the water are impressive.
It will use its white fur to camouflage as ice and then when a creature comes near it will swim aggressively towards it with its speed and webbed paws while quickly overtaking it in strength. Many animals throughout the animal kingdom have made adaptations over time in order to survive within the environment it lives. The polar bear is one of the many who have been successful.