Do Polar bears hibernate? Yes they do. Their hibernation patterns are linked with the seasonal changes that occur in different regions. Watching snow everywhere which is sparkling and beautiful as stardust is magical. One may run here and there without knowing that there is a beast sleeping. It’s a polar bear. They are the land’s largest carnivore (feed on animals). They are super cute and they look like a ball of cotton. But, their powerful claws can tear the bones easily. Don’t make noise and don’t wake them!
Do Polar Bears Migrate In Or Hibernate?
Yes! They migrate. They are the animal of ice and their body is adapted for cold weather. In the spring when the ice melts, they migrate to the North as it contains ice and in the fall, the south is again covered with ice, so they move to the south.
The other sort of migration is for food and finding a mate. In the ice, it is difficult to find food as everything is covered with ice. They look for seals and holes in the ice from where they can grab a seal. In addition, they also roam here and there to find a female for mating.
In November and October, males move to the pack-ice where they spend their winter and the pregnant females migrate to the land area where they make dens (burrows in the soil or ice). They live there till the winters are over and also give birth in their dens.
Polar bears do hibernate but not both genders do! Only the pregnant females go into hibernation. The males sleep but it’s not like hibernation as it is not a continuous sleep for them.
How Long Do They Hibernate?
Polar bears take rest but their sleep does not fully fill the definition of hibernation. It is a temporary state of dormancy (inactivity) that lasts for 4-5 months. During a proper hibernation, the animal’s metabolism slows down to almost zero. But, in the case of polar bears, their heartbeats slow down but not to that extent as they should.
Their hibernation is affecting for many years due to climate change. Due to global warming, ice is melting at a faster rate and the summers are getting longer than usual. During winters, they store energy by eating their prey in the winters.
Shorter winter means less amount of food and when they hibernate, mostly they die because they do not have enough energy to use. It is also affecting the overall hibernation behavior of the polar bear that is disturbing their overall health and life.
Do Polar Bear Hibernate In The Summers?
Yes! During summers, hundreds of kilometers of stretched ice shelves crack that become open water, which creates problems for polar bears. In the winters, they can prey on seals easily but when the ice melts, seals get the chance to escape, and now food is not available easily. However, they prefer taking rest during that period.
When they sleep, their heart rate and breathing rate decrease, which requires less energy. So, during sleeping, they spend less energy and they can sleep for longer. Moreover, if there is any kind of danger, they can awaken and move to another place and sleep again. When they eat seals, they store the fat in their body as the seal body is mostly made of fat tissues. This stored fat in the body then provides them energy when there is nothing to eat in the summers.
How Do Polar Bears Adapt To Climate Change?
First of all, their hunting behavior is changing. Polar bears are evolved to live and catch prey on the frozen ice. They can hide in the ice because their white fluffy thick fur can camouflage with the ice and they can attack the prey easily.
But, due to fast-growing technology, global warming is risking their lives. The ice melts earlier and they do not catch enough food. In this scenario, they have adapted themselves to catch on the land as well. Their first priority is food. So, they eat whatever they find. Unfortunately, that food is not as nutritious and fatty as seals but it is enough to survive.
Secondly, recently, scientists have discovered a strange yet very useful phenomenon. The bear eats their prey and buries the leftovers in the snow for later use when there is no food. They know that the ice will prevent the meat from rotting and they can easily consume it later. They know that the ice is melting at a faster rate, they have adapted to it.
Do They Hibernate In The Winter Months?
They do not hibernate in the winters as it is their feeding season. However, when the weather is extremely cold they hide in the dens that they have made in the snow and curl their body. They cover their exposed body parts with their dense fur.
They have a layer of fat under their skin and that keeps them warm when they are hiding. This hiding can last from days to months depending on the severity of the weather. When the weather is normal, they come out and life goes.
Living in the ice is not easy and especially when it is Antarctica and there is snow everywhere. Polar bears have evolved themselves to live there and now as the climate is changing, they are adapting themselves to survive. In other words, it is the need of the hour!