KIDS ASK: Are Polar Bears Good Swimmers?

Polar bears are indeed very strong swimmers. Their scientific name, Ursus maritimus, means just that, “sea bear.”  Polar bears can swim for several hours at a time; they have been tracked swimming continuously for 62 miles, and can swim up to 10 miles per hour.  A polar bear does the dog paddle, using its huge front paws to propel it through the icy water, and its hind legs and feet for steering.

Polar bears are  also good divers; their nostrils automatically close when they are submerged under water. They usually dive from 10 to 15 feet deep when stalking prey, like seals, or avoiding ice floes. They can remain underwater for approximately two minutes.

Sometimes polar bears swim to cool down on warm days or after being very active (just like we do!). When a polar bear emerges from the icy water and climbs onto land or onto an ice floe, its thick hair easily shakes free of water and ice that have formed while swimming in the frigid arctic waters.

Coming soon... the PBh Holiday Episode featuring creatures of the North Pole...Available December 1, 2013.