What’s a Baby Polar Bear Called & 4 More Amazing Facts!

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Published: December 13, 2021
Image Credit Shvaygert Ekaterina/Shutterstock.com
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Polar bears are some of the most dangerous land carnivores around! Did know they’re helpless when babies, or that they may not be the color they appear to the eye? There are lots of cool things to learn about baby polar bears, so let’s get started with these five facts and adorable baby polar bear pictures!

#1: A Baby Polar Bear is Called a Cub!

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A baby polar bear is called a cub, which is a name shared with other types of bears.

Shvaygert Ekaterina/Shutterstock.com

Just like with other species of bears, the baby polar bear is called a cub. By the time a cub is six months old, it’s old enough to leave its mother to venture out on its own. At this point, it would be called a subadult. Polar bears are subadults until they’re old enough to mate. 

#2: Newborn Polar Bears Depend Completely on Their Moms

Baby Polar Bear - Polar Bear with Mom
Polar bear cubs depend completely on their mothers for survival.

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When a polar bear is born, it’s only about a pound and has hair so fine it seems nonexistent. These babies also don’t have their eyes open or any teeth at birth. Because baby polar bears are so vulnerable, they spend most of the first 6 months of their lives in a den built by their mother. 

In this time, the cubs learn everything they need to survive from their mom. As babies, they must be fiercely protected against predators due to their size and inability to defend themselves. However, polar bears don’t stay prey forever. When they’re fully grown, polar bears weigh over 1,500 pounds and are some very deadly animals because of their teeth, nails, and sheer size alone. 

#3: Polar Bears are Black, Not White

Polar Bear Baby - Cub with parent
Polar bears have black skin under their translucent fur, which only looks white from reflecting the snow.

isabel kendzior/Shutterstock.com

Because of the intense climate they live in, polar bears have more than one layer of fluffy fur to protect them. Their first layer is a short, dense one that protects them from the cold and buffers their skin against the cold. Additionally, there is a longer layer and it appears white. 

However, a polar bear’s color is not what it may seem. The longer hair polar bears have is translucent and only reflects the colors around them. In reality,  polar bears have black skin under their layers of warm fur.

#4: Polar Bear Cubs are Found in Only One Place in the World

Baby Polar Bear - Cubs
Polar bear cubs are only raised in the Arctic.

Anne Kiel/Shutterstock.com

Baby polar bears are born in the Arctic and it’s for good reason. Their amount of fur requires an extremely cold place to live, otherwise, they’d be way too hot with those layers. Polar bears are incapable of living in warm climates. They would die within a day if they moved to a warmer climate. 

People often get polar bears confused with living in Antarctica, which isn’t the case. However, in terms of the climate, if polar bears had to live there, they would certainly survive.

#5: Polar Bear Twins Aren’t Rare

What's a Baby Polar Bear Called - Siblings
Polar bears commonly have one or two siblings.

andamanec/Shutterstock.com

Most commonly, baby polar bears are born in pairs; it’s also normal for them to be born alone. However, it’s extremely rare for a mother polar bear to give birth to 3 or 4 cubs at a time. Smaller litter sizes give baby polar bears the greatest chance at survival.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are baby polar bears called?

Baby polar bears are called cubs. These furry creatures share a name with many other types of bears, as well as aardvarks and cheetahs.

How much do baby polar bears weigh?

At birth, baby polar bears weigh only about one pound and they measure in at about a foot long. The harsh environment that polar bears live in, means they need a lot to counteract some of the cold they will face. To help with the extreme weather, polar bears bulk on weight and gain at least a pound a day for the first 2 or 3 months of life. During this time, they will also learn survival skills.

What do baby polar bears eat?

Polar bears are mammals. Therefore, their young nurse from their mothers for the nutrients and vitamins they need to survive. Baby polar bears are born in a snow “maternity den”, where they live until they’ve grown and learned enough to survive a trip to the sea. Once at sea and roaming around the sea ice, the polar bears will start to hunt seals, which is a polar bear’s primary source of food. 

Where do baby polar bears live?

Polar bears live in the Arctic and are born in the winter. Before they’re born, their mother will dig a large hole in the snowbank to create what’s called a maternity den. The baby polar bears will stay in the den until spring arrives. They also learn all their basic skills there. After spring and when they are deemed strong enough by mom, the babies venture out and start on their travels to the sea ice.

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