Do Polar Bears Cover Their Noses When Hunting?
This slightly odd question was posed by Katie Murphy in Form VI, who really should be thinking about her exams now and not the hunting behaviours of Polar Bears. Well anyway, the answer isn't really that clear. There are several descriptions of the behaviour but many naturalists believe it to be myth. Barry Lopez, in his book Arctic Dreams - Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape, describes seeing polar bears cover their noses and paws with snow when stalking seals but Polar Bears International, a group founded with the conservation of this elegant hunter as its sole purpose, believes this to be a major misconception. Similarly Ian Stirling, a Canadian naturalist, has spent several thousand hours observing the behaviour of polars bears and never seen one cover their nose. But the debate could ramble on because for everyone one who claims to have seen it, there is another who claims that it could not possibly happen. In the interest of fun though, I'm saying it's true!