Can Polar Bears Live In Heat? (9 Things You Should Know!)

We all have heard about polar bears living in the cold lands of the North Pole. But can polar bears also live in hotter places?

The quick answer is No!

Polar bears cannot tolerate heat.  They cannot survive in temperatures above  10 °C (50 °F)

Polar bears have several features that allow them to live in cold temperatures near -40 °C (-104 °F). However, they can’t live in warm temperatures because of the same features. 

In this article, I will discuss what’s the warmest temperature that a polar bear can take and much more. 

So, let’s start!

Table of Contents

What’s The Warmest Temperature That a Polar Bear Can Take?

Polar Bear Moving Around on a Hot Day

The warmest temperature that a polar bear can take is about 10°C (50 °F). Even though the North Pole is extremely cold, the summers can be warmer with temperatures near 10°C (50 °F).

This is also the approximate range of temperature that a Polar Bear can live in. To avoid warmer temperatures, polar bears generally live in the sea ice of the Arctic region (north pole). 

Moreover, they also live in parts of the coastline and the islands where the temperature hardly goes above 10°C (50 °F).

Why Can’t Polar Bears Live In Warm Climates?

The reason why polar bears cannot live in warm climates is that their bodies are adapted to extremely cold temperatures. Their bodies trap heat and insulate the body from the outside temperature. 

Polar bears have two layers of fur and a thick layer of blubber. They trap body heat inside even when the temperature outside reaches -40°C (-104 °F).

Not only that, there are several other adaptations too that help the polar bear to conserve body heat. The large size of the bear means they also have a large ratio of volume to surface. 

This means they do not lose much heat from the skin either. As a result, if a polar bear is in a warm climate, its body will overheat very rapidly. 

And won’t be able to lose that heat because of its unique adaptations. This can be deadly for polar bears.

The Effect Of Global Warming On Polar Bears

Global warming has led to a heavy increase in the temperatures in polar regions. 

In addition, it causes an increase in the temperature that goes beyond 10°C. And this results in the melting of sea ice. 

Sea ice is an important habitat for polar bears. Hence, the rising temperature often causes polar bears to die on islands in warm temperatures. 

In addition to this, the melting of the sea ice is a threat to seals. And these are polar bears’ major prey (or food).

What’s more, a polar bear’s body evolved to trap heat inside. This increases the risk of them suffering heat exhaustion or hyperthermia in warmer temperatures. 

Sadly, this was exactly what happened to a 14-year-old bear living in a Zoo in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

How Do Polar Bears Combat Heat In The Wild?

A Polar Bear Active During the Cooler Hours of the Summer Season in Its Habitat

In the wild, polar bears often combat heat by changing their behavior to reduce their level of physical activity. These bears have thick insulating layers of furs and blubbers to retain heat. 

As a result, their bodies often overheat due to running and hunting during summer. They try to avoid the heat of the day and go out hunting at night. 

And they rest in their den throughout the morning. It is easier for polar bears to be active at night since it is significantly cooler.

How Do Polar Bears Combat Heat In The Zoo?

The zoos that keep polar bears often use air conditioners and lots of ice to match the freezing temperatures of the North Pole. In warmer temperatures, polar bears in the zoo also take frequent dives in the ice-cold water. 

They equally prefer to stay near the outlets of the air conditioners to keep themselves cool. This way, they can reduce the risk of hyperthermia. 

In addition, it has often been noticed that polar bears in zoos chew a lot of ice during summer. And this helps to keep their body cool. 

Furthermore, polar bears in zoos avoid diets that are too rich in fats. This is because such diets generate a high amount of heat. Instead, they feed on fish inside the zoo. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can Polar Bears Live In 80 Degree Weather?

No, polar bears cannot live in 80°F or 26 °C weather. It can be deadly for polar bears as it leads to their bodies getting overheated and dehydrated. 

Since the body of the polar bear is unable to lose heat, it cannot live under temperatures beyond 50°F or 10°C. Moreover, a temperature as high as 80°F or 26°C makes it hard for polar bears to slow down their metabolism.

These bears are only able to reduce their body temperature by less than 33°F or 0.5 °C. It is too less to allow them to survive in such warm temperatures. 

How Does a Polar Bear Survive in the Summer?

During the summer, polar bears tend to migrate toward the colder parts of the Arctic region to avoid the heat. 

In the summer, the ice sheets of the Arctic start melting. During this time, polar bears prefer to live on larger islands that are cold. 

These islands are towards the upper part of the North Pole (above the Arctic Circle). In the morning they rest in their den to reduce excretion. 

Additionally, they often sleep in shades or take frequent swims instead of walking. Swimming, especially in the cold water of the North Pole, helps them to cool off. 

These times they also prefer to feed on birds or fishes which are essentially low-calorie meals for polar bears. Furthermore, a polar bear hunts mostly at night to avoid the daytime heat. 

Can a Polar Bear Live in Florida?

No, a polar bear cannot live In Florida. The temperature there during summer can go as high as 95 °F  or  35 °C. It makes it unsuitable for polar bears to survive. 

In the winter the temperature does not drop below 18°C or 64°F in most places except the Key West region. This temperature is equivalent to the summer temperature in the Arctic. 

Therefore even in the winter, the temperature of Florida is unsuitable for polar bears. 

Can a Polar Bear Live Comfortably in a Very Hot Place?

No, polar bears cannot live comfortably in a very hot place. It is because their bodies are not adapted to survive temperatures exceeding 50°F or 10°C. 

As a result of global warming, summer can sometimes get uncomfortable for polar bears. It causes them to move towards colder places to avoid the heat. 

In really hot places like deserts or tropical regions, there is no way polar bears can survive on their own in the wild. These bears are most likely to get affected by the heat very quickly and die. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up, polar bears cannot live in hot temperatures.

In addition, temperatures above 50°F  or 10°C are unsuitable for polar bears to survive in the wild 

Their bodies are adapted to resist extreme cold temperatures. This is possible because of their thick blubber and a double layer of fur. 

In hot weather, their body overheats and they get heat exhaustion.

Just like polar bears, every animal has its own survival skills. Read A Guide To Red Panda’s Survival to know how red pandas survive.