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February 27th is International Polar Bear Day

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If you're looking for something to do today then things are about to get a little chilly because it's International Polar Bear Day!  What's not to love about a giant, white bear?  Let's get right into celebrating International Polar Bear Day!

WHY IS THIS A HOLIDAY?  

Today is a day to celebrate the world's largest carnivore on land... the polar bear! Why? Because these bears are pretty awesome! In fact, they're the biggest bears out there. A male polar bear can weigh up to three quarters of a ton... now that's a huge bear!  Their scientific name is Ursus maritimus which means "maritime bear" due to the fact that polar bears spend most of their time near or in the water, hunting seals. They live in the Arctic Circle but you might be able to view one at a local zoo. So you're pretty much going to have to head North if you want to see these bears at their happiest, out in the wild.  And while polar bears are more than twice the size of a Siberian tiger, they can be matched in size by a Kodiak bear. But these white beasts can actually grow to over 9 feet in length! But how can they live in such cold climates?
 
Well, because they've got about 4 inches of insulation on their body... AKA blubber. This insulation works so well that you can barely pick them up with infrared technology and polar bears will actually overheat if you bring them to a climate above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So, let's try to keep things nice and chilly for the bears' sake, OK?  This blubber also helps them out in the water because it makes them really buoyant. And polar bears love to swim! In fact, some people have seen them out in the water about 200 miles from land. They can actually swim faster than they walk, but don't let that fool you... polar bears can actually run at speeds of 25 miles per hour! Could you imagine a 9 foot long, 3/4 ton bear coming at you that fast?  Like I said... these bears are pretty awesome!

HOW TO CELEBRATE 

So how can you celebrate today?  Well, if you're lucky enough to live up North then why not go out and see if you can get a guide to take you into polar bear territory?  I'm sure that would be a great experience to see them in their natural habitat... but don't get too close!  Or you can head to your local zoo and watch some polar bears swim around in their not so natural habitat.  They might not be as happy but you'll be able to get a lot close since there will be a fence or glass between you and the bears.  Or you could take some time today to watch a documentary on polar bears or read up on them online.  It's really interesting to read about all the information we've gathered about these bears so far.  Or heck, why not just give a stuffed polar bear to someone you like?  There are plenty of random polar bear things you could buy to celebrate.  And if you're really crazy you could join the polar bear club today.  Yep, hop on in some chilly water today and see what it's like to swim around like a polar bear... without the blubber of course!  Regardless of what you decide to do, I hope you have a fun celebration today!





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