Arctic animals and their thick winter coats


Polar bears have two layers of fur as well as a thick layer of fat under the skin that keeps them warm even when they hunt in the frosty seas. Photo: 123rf.com

When it comes to insulation, Arctic animals are famous for having bodies that keep them warm.

Polar bears live and hunt mostly on sea ice in the Arctic Circle. This region has winters that reach -30°C and sometimes even lower.

Polar bears are therefore built for icy conditions. They have two layers of fur as well as a thick layer of fat under the skin that keeps them warm even when they hunt in the frosty seas.

As an Arctic summer reaches 10°C, and the sea always has some ice cover, polar bears don’t really have a summer coat.

However, Arctic hares do. These mammals live in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and northern Canada. While some live in the tundra and forests, they are also found above the Arctic tree line, the northernmost latitude where it is too cold for trees to grow.

These amazing hares have a super thick white winter coat that keeps them warm. However, when the snow melts in the spring, the Arctic hare grows a brown or grey coat that is also much thinner.

The coat changes isn’t just for temperature control. Polar bears will eat a hare if they spot it, and as the Arctic hare moves further south, it may be hunted by wolves, foxes, eagles, and owls.

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