Home > Biology, Nature > Shouldn't they be poler bears?

Shouldn't they be poler bears?

While I’d like to die at the ripe old age of 80 of a massive brain aneurysm in my sleep (you know, painless, quick and the whatnot) I do have another sort of ideal death. You see, I’d like to live with bears, be accepted by them and join on of their families. Kind of like Timothy Treadwell, except instead of those pussy grizzly bears, I’d go for the balls-out king of the fucking bears, the polar bears. I’d make a video journal of my time with them in the hopes that one day the footage would be discovered and Werner Herzog could make a feature length film of my exploits.

Okay, maybe there wouldn’t be enough footage to make it feature length, it would probably be a short film. In fact, I have a pretty good idea of how it would pan out. It would start with me setting up the camera.

Alright, I’m going to try and meet with the polar bears now. Hello Bears! I mean you no harm! I simply want to live with you and become one of you. Possibly eat a seal or two. Please accept me as one of your own!

Oh my gods! He ripped of my arm! Or is that a she? Nope definitely a he! Jesus, now he’s eating my severed arm! There’s so much blood. Oh, gods, now he’s ripped open my stomach and he’s eating my entrails. WHILE I’M STILL ALIVE!!!

Then the credits would start rolling and the one-hit-wonder of the millennium, Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” would play over the sounds of my own screams. It would simply be called Most Awesome Worst Idea Ever! Even so, while I will probably end up dead or dying within five minutes of starting my man/bear endeavour, it will undoubtably the most thrilling five minutes of my life. It would be so much fun to brag things up at the pearly gates. I’d be stuck in the middle of all those schmucks who had massive coronaries while typing away in their cubicles or those poor bastards who were hit by someone who was driving and texting, and they’d be regalling stories of their various deaths, then they’d get to me. “Well, first my arm was torn off by a polar bear and then it started to devour my intestines while I was still alive.” Bam! Instant afterlife fame. Seeing as how I’m not a very good person otherwise, I could use this to my advantage in garnering praise from the more pious uppy ups.

But all of that is neither here nor there, the important thing is that Polar bears are cool. They’re merciless killing machines, but they also appear so cute and cuddly you can’t help but want to hold them. They’ve got an insane sense of smell. According to the all-knowing wikipedia, they can smell seals buried under three feet of snow…from over a mile away. I saw this in action on some sort of random nature documentary. A crew in a helicopter was watching a bear. It had been travelling in one direction, then stopped, sniffed the air for a while and made an abrupt direction change. They helicpoter followed the bear for a mile when it suddenly stopped and started digging at the ice and snow. Lo and behold, there was a seal hiding under the ice at that exact spot. Brown bears just sit in the river and wait for salmon to swim to them. Pussies.

Tauntauns have nothing on polar bears. If you kill a polar bear (which may not actually be possible) and crawl inside of him for warmth, you will die of heat exhaustion.  They’ve got a thick layer of blubber that insulates them from the arctic cold. Not to mention their fur, which isn’t white but actually clear. Combine those together and polar bears are so well insulated that they appear almost invisible on the infrared spectrum. That’s right, polar bears are the only thing that can consistently kill Predators. The insulation and fur works so well that they overheat if it gets above 50 Fahrenheit. They can even over heat during long swims. Let me clarify that. While swimming through frigid, ice covered water polar bears can overheat.

Another thing helping polar bears retain their warmth is their shape. Even though they’re longer than brown bears, they have stockier legs. This is so that the bears are larger, but have less surface area than bears living in warm climates. The less surface area there is, the less heat will escape from the body. This was actually theorized before it was observed and studied. Some guy named Joseph Allen figured that warm-bloodied animals in colder regions would have shorter legs and arms than their warm region counterparts. In 1877 this theory became a rule (I don’t know how something specifically becomes a rule, as if there were some magical animal instruction booklet) and is called (wait for it) Allen’s Rule.

They’re freaking relentless, too. When polar bears hunt seals, they usually camp out around a hole in the ice, and wait for the seals to surface for air. When the seal pops up, the bear swipes the seal out of the water, bites its head and crushes the skull. This uber-morbid version of whack-a-mole is also an instinctive measure to prevent zombie seal attacks, probably. The also will sneak up on seals that are laying on the ice surface. Since polar bears, but their ginormous nature make lousy sneakers, they have to rush at the seals in the last 30 or 40 yards and take the seal by surprise.

Unfortunately, not everything you read or hear about polar bears is true, especially on the internets. Except for this article, which is 100% fact (note: not an actual fact). I’ve seen on numerous lists the “fact” that all polar bears are left handed. I always liked this, because I was left handed and it was something that we had in common. I figured I could use that as my “in” with the bears. Unfortunately, if you talk to bear studying scientist types, they’ll tell you that polar bears don’t seem to have any hand (or paw) preference. Shoot.

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Categories: Biology, Nature Tags: , ,
  1. July 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Polar Bears are the most badass animal in the animal kingdom.

    I feel great pity for seals, because as soon as a polar bear finds their hole, they’re just screwed.

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