SCIENCE CORNER: How do polar bears stay warm?

Science Corner

Mobile, Ala. (WKRG) – Have you ever wondered how animals like polar bears stay warm in very cold areas? They have a ton of fur, but also a layer of fat just below their skin called blubber. Join Meteorologist Caroline Carithers in another Science Corner experiment to put it to the test!

Ingredients: 

  • Large bowl 
  • Ice cubes
  • Water
  • Shortening
  • 2 plastic baggies 
  • Duct tape or rubber band

How to: 

  • Fill bowl with ice and water, place hand in for a quick second. It’s COLD! 
  • Fill one plastic bag with shortening, place hand in it and secure with tape or rubber band
  • Place other hand in empty baggie and secure with tape or rubber band
  • Put both hands in water
  • Do you notice any differences? 

Explanation: 

  • How do animals like polar bears survive in the COLD places they live? One, fur. But also, they have what’s called fat or blubber layer that keeps them warm, much like the shortening kept your hand warmer than the one without the shortening. It is basically like a cozy blanket.
  • You probably noticed that the hand that was in the shortening bag was warmer than without! This works the same with the polar bears. Their blubber (represented by shortening in this experiment) acts like a blanket and keeps them warmer.
  • They can live in up to -50 degree temps thanks to the blubber, two kinds of fur, and even with white fur, they have black skins that absorbs the suns rays

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