Polar Bears and Penguins by Katharine HallDo you know where polar bears live? And do you know where penguins live? Both exist in polar climates where there is a lot of snow, and both like to swim in cold water. However, polar bears live in the Arctic region around the North Pole, whereas penguins live in the Antarctic which is the continent surrounding the South Pole. Polar bears are mammals covered with fur. Penguins are birds covered with feathers. There are many other similarities and differences between these two kinds of animals and their environments. So, do you think that you would likely see a nature photograph with both a polar bear and a penguin in the same shot?
The stunning photographs in Polar Bears and Penguins, along with author Katharine Hall’s instructive text, introduce young readers not only to these two fascinating creatures themselves, but also to the location and terrain of the polar regions, the many other types of bears and the various species of penguins, living habits of polar bears and penguins, and how the seasons are different at the two poles. The four back pages of “For Creative Minds” learning activities include further information on the seasons, polar mammals, and “A Year at the Poles,” plus polar bear true-false and penguin matching exercises, and more free activities are available online at the publisher’s website. Kids will learn that they might see polar bears and penguins near each other at a zoo, but they would never be found in the same habitats in the wild because they live at opposite ends of the Earth.
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The truth about polar bears
It is becoming an annual tradition to post my open letter to the Coca-Cola Corporation. Maybe one of these year's Coke will listen. While I have been known to enjoy your products, and never those of your competitor, I am saddened by the misinformation you are spreading in your current advertising campaign. I am referring to the television spot in which you show a family of polar bears who espy a partying penguins and slide down the hill to join the merriment. It's a very cute advert, but is totally factually wrong.
Living at opposite ends of the world, penguins and polar bears have made very different homes for themselves. With Antarctica as their home, they might be dressed to thrill, but these comical little creatures are always ready for action. On land, they have rather poor eyesight but once in the water they have exceptional vision. Like many sea animals, penguins are attuned to the colours of the sea, which helps them avoid predators like leopard seals and killer whales. Polar bears call the Arctic their home.
For many of us, penguins and the polar regions seem to go hand in hand, so it's no surprise that some visitors to the Arctic are hoping to catch a glimpse of these charismatic creatures. But alas, there are no penguins in the Arctic! Were there ever penguins in the Arctic?
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Penguins & polar bears: Same same but different
Discovery Channel's Frozen Planet, Summer episode, first couple of minutes cleary show a polar bear and penguin swimming together. Please explain that. Narrator Alec Baldwin made not a mention about the seeming improbability, though penguins have been introduced off Greenland. Great question! Our penguin experts are enjoying the program as well. They find that the scenes often switch from the Arctic to Antarctic, so it's easy to get mixed up. But to their knowledge, there are no penguins living in the wild in the Arctic.
Cartoonists and children's authors often show polar bears hanging around with penguins. It is impossible to be more wrong. Reality: As far as we can tell, polar bears and penguins have never met outside a zoo. My children have outgrown books in which polar bears and penguins inhabit the same page. But there is an alarming number of them out there and this is one biogeographical crime I cannot forgive.