Polar Bear, Polar Bear,
What Can You Hear?
Who has better hearing: a polar bear or your family dog? From how far away can a polar bear smell a seal? Learn about how a polar bear’s amazing senses help them find food and survive the Arctic winters! (For Kids, K–2nd grade audience) 

Polar Bear Senses
Senses. A polar bear's sense of smell is very keen, and so is its eyesight and hearing. Heightened senses help bears survive in Arctic conditions.


The excerpts below are from the attached document from Sea World. You may download the document from the bottom of this page.


A Polar bear's eyes are dark brown, set relatively close together, and look forward. The eyesight of a Polar bear appears to be similar to humans. Polar bears have a protective membrane over their eyes that may help shield the eyes from ultraviolet light. Polar bears have excellent underwater vision as they can flatten their lens, very much like us wearing goggles. They can hold their breath for two minutes and dive to depths of around 3 metres.


They’re such a unique animal. For instance, their sense of smell is acute, and it’s the most important sense for detecting prey. Polar bears have the ability to smell their prey more than 32 kilometres away, so when our Polar bears are looking for their food, you’ll notice they point their nose to the sky to find the different scents. The nose is broad and black, their sense of smell is acute, and it is the most important sense for detecting prey.


The fur-covered ears are small and rounded, and lie flat when underwater. A Polar bear's hearing is possibly as sensitive as human hearing.

What sounds can polar bears hear? What noises disturb them? It's almost impossible to answer questions like these by studying wild polar bears—so we turned to researchers and trainers at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego for help. Learn more by clicking the image below.


Julene Reed,
Oct 27, 2014, 8:08 PM