Polar Bears Are Transparent And Other Arctic Wildlife Facts
One of the main reasons why people venture into the Polar Regions is to see some of its fascinating inhabitants. Although the many indigenous communities that live here are remarkable, we’re referring to the wildlife which prowls, swims and swoops throughout these extreme landscapes.
Just catching a fleeting glimpse of a polar bear on the hunt for its prey or a whale breaking the water’s surface with its gigantic tale is enough to enhance your trip tenfold. Your expert guides will know the best places to experience these sightings so you’ll know you are in good hands. And the eagle-eyed captains will always be looking out for those unexpected encounters and alerting you via the PA system.
Here are some interesting Arctic animal facts to whet your appetite.
As we alluded to in the title, polar bears are not actually white. Instead, their fur is transparent and only appears to us in this way because it reflects natural light. This makes for a very effective camouflage.
A narwhal’s tusk is actually one of its teeth. Unlike our teeth, though, it is soft on the outside and hard in the middle, making it both strong and flexible.
Reindeers have evolved to develop a way of counteracting a polar bear’s stealth hunting tactics. They can see in ultra-violet light, meaning the bear can be spotted in time to make a quick getaway.
If you see a beluga whale that is not white then it is likely to be a calf. Young belugas are born grey and slowly fade to a white colour as they age. Males reach their permanent colour after nine years, whilst females reach this by the time they are seven.
Arctic foxes have a member of their group who is the designated nanny. During the summer months, they will roam in packs of one male, two females and the newly born kits. Whilst one female is mother to the kits, the second doesn’t breed and helps rear the young.
Like penguins, puffins make use of countershading. The black colour on the top half of their bodies means they are hard to distinguish from the dark water when looking from above, and the white on their lower body makes them hard to spot when predators are looking up at them from underwater.
You will only ever see a narwhal in the wild as there isn’t a single one living in the zoos, aquariums or any other captive places around the world.
Reindeer are the only species of deer where the females also grow antlers. Whilst the males shed theirs in the winter and spring, females don’t lose theirs until the summer months.
Seal pups and their mothers recognise each other through a unique call. Recent research has shown that pups can still remember their mother’s call after four years of separation.
Muskoxen were around during the Ice Age and once walked the Arctic plains alongside such extinct beasts as woolly mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. Their fur, known as qiviut, is also used to make the most luxurious garments in the world.
If you would like to put your new knowledge to the test and see some of these fascinating animals in the wild. Call us today to set the ball rolling on your next great adventure.