We were lucky enough to see a polar bear at the Singapore Zoo on our recent adventures. This guy was stunning, seemed rather content in his fairly spacious (and highly air-conditioned!) enclosure (though it was no where near as spacious as the territory that the wild bears inhabit!) and we were fortunate enough to see the large animal dive in for a swim (or ‘float’ as I’ll explain in a little while!)
However a quick afternoon trip to Singapore isn’t always on the cards, here are a few of the things we learnt about polar bears, and tomorrow I’ll shot you an activity that you can do at home (without any flying needed!)
With your own Polar Bear at hand (book, google, or toy) ask your tot the following:
What colour skin do you think a polar bear has? (hint, look at the paws and nose)
Polar bears have black skin and this helps them absorb heat from the sun (you can test this by sitting a black and white object in the hot sun and seeing which is the warmest to touch!)
What colour fur does a polar bear have? (most will answer white here!)
Polar bear fur looks white to us because we see the sunlight bouncing off it, but each strand of fur is actually clear so the sunlight can reach that black skin!
If the sun needs to get to the skin, why is there a big fluffy coat?
The big fluffy coat traps warm air near the animals body, and keeps the cold air away from his skin!
Why does a polar bear float? (bet you didn’t even know he did!)
He floats because each hair on his body is hollow and filled with air, this helps him stay warm (as above) but it also means that he floats in the water when he is swimming!
An adult polar bear can weigh unto 720kg, and grow to about 2m high (that’s about the weight of 10 grown ups (based on average Australian weights) and almost as high as your ceiling (assuming average ceiling height!) … how big do you think a baby Polar Bear is?
Around 3.5kg (That’s smaller than both my babies when they were born, and that blew their minds as they stared at the giant creature towering above them – it’s a nice little relatable fact that such a large creature is born as such a human scale – you might like to weigh your young tot at this point and see how many of them it would take to be as big and heavy as a Polar Bear!)
This is Elka being a Polar Bear: