Monday, March 29, 2010


An adult bear has 10 centimetres of blubber beneath its skin.

This is covered by a thick coat of dense fur.

Each hair of this fur is a hollow tube so that air is trapped inside as well as between them.

The hairy padded feet are also callused on the underside which gives a layer of dead tissue between the ice and any blood vessels.

As well as this the underside has dozens of papillae (tiny nipple like studs) which gives an additional cushion of insulating air between paw and ice and great grip on the ice for fast turns towards prey.

Unfortunately as all this insulation conserves heat efficiently any exertion in temperatures above 10 degrees Celcius could cause heat stroke and kill off the bear.

So if you get caught on the ice just ahead of a running bear, keep going until one of you drops.

My money's on the bear.


Elisabeth said...

A reassuring thought, here JahTeh and such wonderful previously unknown information, unknown to me at least.

Brian Hughes said...

I think its coat needs a clean. Not exactly the best camouflage in the world...unless its hunting down seals in the dunny.

Jayne said...

Just don't eat it's liver!

JahTeh said...

Elisabeth, they might look clumsy but they are fast and they have this little trick of looking like they're asleep at the edge of the ice until a seal comes within reach then it's all over Red Rover.

Fleetwood, it doesn't have to care, nothing hunts it except us. I wouldn't like to be going after it with a couple of spears like the Innuit in the old days.

Jayne, I wouldn't eat any of it, tough as old bears.

Brian Hughes said...


If you want to catch a polar bear you don't use spears any more. Just leave the fridge door open and wait until one floats past your house looking bewildered.

River said...

I used to wish for a polar bear rug, to put my cold footsies onto when stepping out of bed in the dead of winter. Now I just wear fluffy socks to bed, much cheaper and more environmentally correct since I didn't have to slaughter a bear for them.

JahTeh said...

Fleety, you're losing your touch, it should have been 'bearwildered'.
I blame the weather in England.

River, fluffy socks are much better and come in all colours.