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Polar Bear Day

"The Polar Bear never makes his bed;
He sleeps on a cake of ice instead.
He has no blanket, no quilt, no sheet
Except the rain and snow and sleet."

~ Polar Bear, William Jay Smith (1918-2015)

Because they spend so much of their lives on ice, rather than land, polar bears are the only bears to be considered marine mammals. They hunt, court, and mate out on the ice, spending many months of the year far from land. In order to balance on ice, polar bears have giant feet with paws measuring up to 12 inches in diameter which act like snowshoes to spread out their weight on thin ice and deep snow. And although polar bears don't hibernate, they do like to nap in protective pits during snowstorms! Expectant mother bears, however, will build a special den in the ice, made of a tunnel and two chambers, in which she stays in to have her cubs and tend to them after their birth for up to 8 months during which time she may never leave to hunt or eat! Although mostly solitary animals when coming together for breeding or eating, a group of polar bears is referred to as a "celebration'! ❄️

International Polar Bear Day is an annual event celebrated every February 27th to raise awareness about the conservation status of the polar bear.

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle. It is a large bear, approximately the same size as the omnivorous Kodiak bear.   Their scientific name means "maritime bear", and derives from the fact that polar bears hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present. Because of their dependence on the sea ice, polar bears are classified as marine mammals.

The polar bear has an extremely well developed sense of smell, being able to detect seals nearly 1.6 km (1 mi) away and buried under 1 m (3 ft) of snow. 

Designed by Carol A.L. Martin, this tartan reflects the polar bear in its environment.

For more about polar bears, click the mother bear and her twin cubs.

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