Monday, August 10, 2009
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a bear native largely within the Arctic circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest carnivore species found on land. It's also the largest bear, together with the omnivore Kodiak bear which is approximately the same size. An adult male weighs around 400–680 kg (880–1,500 lb), while an adult female is about half that size. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrow ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, it spends most of its time at sea, hence its name meaning " maritime bear", and can hunt consistently only from sea ice, spending much of the year on the frozen sea.