We often see polar bears appearing in TV commercials, shows and documentaries or being described in fantasy novel-work. This has brought them popularity and made us treat them like celebs and believe them to be all calm and composed creatures. In their wild realm, however, these mammals are the largest and sturdiest carnivores living on the planet! Heading the food chain all around the Arctic, polar bears are the smug hunters of fish and ice-dependent seals. Well, there are many more interesting facts about polar bears that make them truly awesome. Here are 7 facts you probably don’t know about them.
7. The Inuit People Respected Polar Bears:
Unlike us, the Inuit people believed polar bears to be mystical creatures that should be revered even after death. They killed polar bears and hanged their skin along with some of their hunting tools for so many days. The Inuit people had a perception that polar bears needed those tools in the next birth and that it was rewarding to be ‘kind’ to these animals!
6. Polar Bears Performed in Ancient Rome:
Blood sports were highly prevalent in ancient Rome and dying animals were fun and entertainment for people. They used to organize games in the open wherein a beast would take on another beast or hunters would face groups of wild animals. This was the time when polar bears were employed by the Romans for such full-of-bloodshed sports! They would fill an arena with seals after flooding it and then set starving polar bears to tear each other off!
5. They Are Not White Actually:
While polar bears look white and this is how most of us think they are the reality is that their true skin color is black. Only that their guard hairs are transparent and undercoat colorless, causing them to appear white. Actually, these guard hairs have concave pockets inside them that reflect light wavelength back as sunlight falls on the outer coat of a polar bear. Their color may turn yellow or brown depending upon the Sun’s position and the time of year, though, too!
4. Infrared Cameras Can not Capture Polar Bears:
Polar bears become invisible when spotted by an infrared camera and the only visible parts are the eyes and nose. The reason for this is the radioactive properties polar bears’ hairs have. These exceptional properties similar to those of the snow offer these animals invisibility under infrared rays.
3. Polar Bears Can Swim Continuously for Days:
Polar bears have big, webbed paws that make it easy to cut through the water at a pace of around 6 mph. Besides being able to swim at a high speed, they can continue swimming for more than a week and cover as many as 60 miles nonstop! They have been recorded to swim about 200 miles maximum from sea shore.
2. Their Liver Can Kill Humans:
If eaten, polar bear liver can kill a human being. Your vision may get unclear and the entire body including bones and the head may begin to ache, causing you to slip into coma and die eventually! Excessive vitamin A that polar bear liver contains is responsible for all this. Though vitamin A in accurate concentration is good for vision, reproduction and most bodily functions, too much of it is detrimental for human body. Too much of vitamin A also causes the hair to fall out and skin to peel away. In some cases even your liver and spleen may swell, causing the whole internal system to fail.
1. They are Becoming Cannibal:
Although seals are what interest polar bears the most, a drastic change in climate of the Arctic in last couple of years has made them change their taste in a pretty much unnatural manner. Rapidly melting ice is another big factor that is keeping these animals bereaved of seals, their natural food. The consequences are showing up in the form of cannibalism emerging as a culture among polar bears! Though it is true that a female polar bear will feed on her sick cubs, increasing cannibalistic activities among polar bears experts believe is a matter of concern. Now, you can see cannibalistic activities taking place as a normal, natural phenomenon, especially where a group or two of polar bears have landed a dry region.