Complete Polar Bear Facts

Detailed Bear Facts

The Five (Six ?) Senses

A polar bear has one of the best noses in the entire world and are well known to have an incredible sense of smell. Polar bears have been seen walking in a straight line for 32km (20 miles) to food, with only their nose to guide them. Polar bears have also sniffed out a seal ten football fields away that was hidden under 1m (3') of ice.

Some times polar bears will stand on two feet and put their nose in the air, so they can get a better smell of what is around them.
Being good hunters both at night and during the day means that polar bears have pretty good eyes. Their two dark eyes point directly forward, making it easy for them to see their prey. Polar bears also can see colour, but maybe not as well as people see colour.
Their eyes have a protective cover that they can see though, called a nictitating membrane. This cover protects their eyes from the bright sunlight and reflection off the snow and ice. It's a little like having built in goggles.

Although no one seems completely sure how well a polar bear can hear, they seem to be able to hear as well as most people can.

Polar bears seem to have a very well refined sense of touch. They can move things carefully with their paws and have been known to pick things up very gently with their mouth.

Polar bears use their big dark tongues to taste things. Just like you, polar bears like some foods better than others, but they like to eat things you and I don't. Polar bears like lots fat, and even food that is starting to rot. Some days they will chew seaweed.

The Sixth Sense - Direction
We are not completely sure how, but polar bears have an incredible sense of direction. Even though the ice can change from day-to-day, and the night can last six months, polar bears seem to be able to navigate extraordinarily well; even swimming to shore from a hundred kilometers out. Some scientists think that polar bears have an internal compass that can sense the earth's magnetic field to guide them.