What color is a polar bear’s fur?

The polar bears live in the Arctic Ocean, Norway, Russia, Greenland, Alaska, and Canada. Two-thirds of the 19 subspecies of polar bears in the world live in Canada. There are about 26,000 polar bears in the world.

There are no big trees in the Arctic tundra. The fur of polar bears has evolved to sustain themselves in this Arctic tundra plain. The fur of the polar bear is a major weapon for survival in the Arctic tundra. Because of the similarity of their fur color with the snow, they can easily come close to the prey in disguise.  A polar bear without fur is black. Because the skin color of the polar bear is black, but What color is a polar bear’s fur?

What color is a polar bear’s fur?

Polar bear fur is oily and water-resistant. The whole body is covered with fur, except for the nose and foot pad. Polar bear real fur is clean and transparent. This transparent fur looks white to us, so we see their color as white. Now the question is, why do we see the clean fur of the polar bear as white? If you read the rest of this article, you will understand why we see the white fur of polar bears.

Why is polar bear fur white?

The transparent fur of the polar bear looks white to us for three main reasons. The three reasons are-

01. Polar Bear Fur Coats

02. Presence of keratin Protein

03. Polar bear skin color

For these three reasons, the polar bear fur color is white. Let’s know how?

01. Polar Bear Fur Coats

The polar bear has two layers of fur coats on its black skin. The inner layer is the undercoat, which is small and thick. The outer layer is guard hair, which is long. Guard hair grows up to 5-15 cm in length.

Guard hairs are clean, transparent, and healthy. These are like a filled tube with air. Guard hair has many bumps. These bumps are light scattering particles. Polar bears swim in the salt water of the sea. So there are small salt particles in each hair. These salt particles also act as light scattering particles.

When sunlight hits the polar bear’s transparent guard hair, some of the white light rays get trapped in the hollow part of the hair. These light rays constantly bounce on the hollow part of the hair. Constant bounces create a kind of energy inside the hair which causes a reaction called luminescence. As the light bounces inside the hollow hair, it also hits the hair bumps or the light scatters particles. As a result of these hits, light scattering particles are sent in different directions. The light-scattering particles meet each other and also hit the outer salt particles. All these light-scattering particles reflect the white light in the inside the fur. At the same time, the salt particles also act as light scattering.

Simply, the trapped white light rays  in the transparent guard hair reflect a bright white color with the help of scattering particles in a reaction called luminescence. This is why we see polar bears as white.

02. Presence of a protein called keratin

The guard hair of polar bears is made up of a natural protein called keratin. Keratin also found in our hair, nails, and the horns and hooves of other animals. These natural keratin protein molecules contain an off-white colored molecule. Due to the presence of these off-white protein molecules, the fur turns white when sunlight falls on the polar bear’s body.

03. Polar bear skin color

The color of the polar bear’s skin is black. The polar bear’s skin is black to retain heat. Black skin can easily absorb sunlight, which helps keep bears warm. When the ultraviolet rays of sunlight hit the bear’s black skin, a white color formed due to fluorescence.

Why Polar Bear Skin Color is Black?

The color of polar bear’s skin is black. Where other bears, including grizzly bears, brown bears, are pink. There are various opinions as to why the polar bear’s skin color has turned black. Many people think that the skin color of the polar bear has turned black to keep the heat from sunlight. Black skin can easily absorb sunlight, which helps keep bears warm. Black skin is an evolutionary change for survival in the polar region. However, after the birth of the polar bear cubs, their skin color is pink, which reminds the characteristics of their predecessors. The skin color is pink for about five months after birth. With age, it gradually turns black.

Do polar bears change their fur color?

The fur color of  polar bears may change slightly with age. In areas where snowfall is low, polar bears are slightly gray or light brown. The polar bears in the white snowy area look absolutely white.

There is also a slight change in the color of their fur at certain times of the year to adapt to the environment. This change is a unique feature of adaptation to the environment.

Despite being transparent and clear fur, different colors of polar bears can be seen. Polar bear’s color change depends on the surrounding environment and weather.

Polar bear color fur

So far, we have learned about the white polar bear. However, in addition to white, yellow, gray, orange, and green polar bears can be seen. What is the reason for the color of polar bear fur of this different color except white? Polar bear fur color facts are given below.

Green Color polar bear

A green color polar bear can be seen in the closed cage of the zoo. How do Polar Bears color green?  Basically, the green color of the polar bear is not a real color. As discussed earlier, the fur of polar bears is transparent and clear.

Algae grow in the waters of the closed zoo and in the walls. Polar bears occasionally rub their bodies against the cage wall. As a result of this friction, holes are made in their guard hair. Through this hole, the algae enters the hollow part of the guard hair. Due to the warm temperature and humidity of the polar bear’s body, the algae grow rapidly inside the fur. As a result, the polar bears look like green color.

Algae never grow in polar regions for cool environments. So, don’t expect to see a green color polar bear in polar regions.

Yellow Color polar bear

Occasionally, some yellowish color polar bears also seen. The color of polar bears appears yellowish, mainly due to their diet. Polar bears color can yellowish when they eat large numbers of bearded and ringed seals. This is because bearded and ringed seals contain a lot of fatty oils. Due to the store of this fatty oil in their body, the polar bear color can be seen yellowish.

Gray Color polar bear

On a cloudy day, polar bears appear gray instead of white. This is because of the absence of white light rays from the sun on a cloudy day. So, the transparent guard hairs of polar bears reflect very little bright light. As a result, the white polar bear appears gray on a cloudy day.

Orange color polar bear

The polar bear usually appears orange or red during sunset. This is because, red light rays are emitted from the sun. The transparent guard hair reflects an orange or reddish color.  So the polar bears look like orange or reddish color.

Do Polar Bears shed their Fur?

Yes, Polar bear shed their fur. Typically, in May or June, the polar bear’s fur falls off completely and new fur grows. The process of shedding and re-growing the fur is completed within a few weeks. When the new fur grows, the fur becomes slightly yellowish.

How to see polar bear in the dark?

By now, we know that the color of the polar bear is white because of the sunlight. So what would it be like to see a polar bear when there is no sunlight in the dark?

The answer is that if you want to see a polar bear in the dark, you have to shed light on it. And because of the light, the polar bear will look white. However, if a polar bear is seen in the dark with the help of an infrared camera, it will look black.

Polar bear real fur color

The real fur color of a polar bear is clear and transparent. It looks different at different time. But how did the polar bear’s fur become transparent?

How did the polar bear’s fur become transparent?

The ancestors of the polar bear were the brown bear. The polar bear is an evolutionary part of the brown bear. When the brown bears spread out in search of food, a group of them separated from the main group and got stuck in the arctic area. Huge ice and snow separated the two groups.

The trapped brown bears begin to fight for survival in the Arctic’s cool environment. Those who have achieved some evolutionary traits in the struggle for survival, only they have survived, while others have died.

For surviving in the arctic area, The Polar bears achieve several adaptive traits in their body. Thick, transparent and oily fur is one of the adaptive traits. Transparent and clear fur helps them retain body temperature, swim in the water, and hide behind ice.

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