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Polar bear (Ursus maritimus).—Francois Gohier/Ardea London
White semiaquatic bear (Ursus maritimus) found throughout Arctic regions, generally on drifting oceanic ice floes. A swift, wide-ranging traveler and a good swimmer, it stalks and captures its prey. It primarily eats seal but also fish, seaweed, grass, birds, and caribou. The male weighs 900–1,600 lbs (410–720 kg) and is about 5.3 ft (1.6 m) tall at the shoulder and 7–8 ft (2.2–2.5 m) long. It has a short tail. The hairy soles of its broad feet protect it from the cold and help it move across the ice. Though shy, it is dangerous when confronted.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on polar bear, visit Britannica.com.