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  • [intro]

  • Goodness, it's cold today.

  • I'll turn up the heat in here,

  • but maybe we should start up the Fort's fireplace, too!

  • It's winter in lots of parts of the world, and that means lots of cold

  • and for some animals, a very different world outside than in the summer.

  • One of the places where things are the most different is the Arctic,

  • the part of the world near the North Pole.

  • That's at the very top of the globe.

  • When it's winter in the Arctic, it also becomes the coldest part of the world.

  • Now, I don't know about you, but I like to be warm.

  • [Squeaks agrees]

  • But for some of the animals that live in the Arctic, the super-cold winter is actually

  • a great/thing.

  • Like polar bears!

  • They have a much easier time finding food in the winter because of all the sea ice.

  • In the winter, the Arctic is so cold that almost all of the ocean up there freezes into

  • a layer of ice at the top.

  • For polar bears, that's awesome, because they like to hunt seals.

  • Seals are big and round, and they have flippers instead of legs.

  • So they can move around on land, but they're very slowway slower than a polar bear.

  • That means if a polar bear can get a seal out of the water,

  • they have a good chance of catching them.

  • The thing is, seals spend most of their time underwater, not on land or on top of the ice.

  • And even though polar bears can swim a bit, they're nowhere close to as fast as a seal

  • underwater.

  • If they tried to hunt a seal in the water, the seal would swim away pretty easily.

  • [Squeaks asks: so how do they catch them?]

  • That's exactly the problem!

  • During the warmer parts of the year, it's very hard for polar bears to catch seals.

  • But when there's lots of sea ice around, polar bears have a really smart way of hunting

  • them.

  • See, even though seals spend so much time underwater,

  • they do need to breathe, just like we do.

  • So they have to come up for air sometimes.

  • In the summer, that doesn't make too much of a difference to polar bears,

  • because a seal could come up for air basically anywhere.

  • Even if a polar bear tries to chase them, they can just dive back into the water and

  • swim away.

  • But do you remember what's different about the Arctic ocean in the winter?

  • [Squeaks answers: ice?]

  • That's right, there's all that ice covering the ocean!

  • To breathe, the seals have to make holes in the ice that they can use to pop up when they

  • need some air.

  • So all a hungry polar bear has to do is hang out near one of these holes, wait for a seal

  • to come up, and grab them!

  • They can do this for most of the winter.

  • Some polar bears live in parts of the Arctic where the ice never melts completely, so they

  • can hunt this way the whole year.

  • In the spring, when the ice starts to melt in most of the Arctic,

  • polar bears still have an easy way to get seals for a little while.

  • The spring is when seals have their babies, and they stay on top of the ice until they're

  • old enough to swim.

  • That makes it easy for polar bears to catch them.

  • By the time the summer comes around though, the seals are back in the water,

  • and the polar bears have to wait until it gets colder again before they can hunt more

  • seals.

  • It's a good thing the bears get lots of food in the winter and spring,

  • because some of them don't eat at all for most of the summer!

  • Polar bears aren't the only animals that are good at finding food in the winter near

  • the North Pole.

  • Seals are also great at it, since they can do basically the same thing they do the all

  • year --

  • just dive under the water and catch things like fish and squid.

  • And walruses, which look kind of like giant seals with long tusks, do the same thing.

  • Arctic foxes are pretty good at finding food too.

  • They hunt lemmings, little animals that spend the winter in burrows under the snow.

  • To find them, the foxes sniff around until they smell lemmings.

  • Then they dive into the snow and dig until they catch one!

  • But one of the things that makes polar bears special is that it's so much easier for

  • them to hunt in the winter than it is in the summer.

  • Near the North Pole, these super-cold months are a great time to be a polar bear!

  • Thanks for joining us!

  • Do you have questions about the North Pole, or polar bears, or anything at all?

  • We have a website where you can send them to us!

  • Just ask a grown-up to help you go to to check it out.

  • We'll see you next time, here at the Fort!

  • [ outro ]


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B1 US polar winter arctic polar bear north pole hunt

Winter at the North Pole!

  • 4 1
    joey joey posted on 2021/05/09
Video vocabulary