What Colour is a Polar Bear, White, Yellow or Green?

What colour do you think Polar bear fur is? That might seem like a silly question but the answer might surprise you. HINT: it’s not white! Polar bear fur is actually clear! That’s right! CLEAR!
polar bear
But if the Polar bear’s skin is black, how come they don’t look black in colour? Well, each of the longer guard hairs on the Polar bear’s body is hollow and reflects visible light, much like snow. So when the sun is shining brightly, Polar bears appear bright white.

Polar Bear, Algae, Green

This polar bear has algae growing in its hair. Photo Credit: Steven Pierson

Since these hairs are hollow, the Polar bears’ diet and environment can affect their colour. Polar bears whose diet has a lot of seals in it can look light yellow because of the seal oils. Polar bears that live in warmer climates (like in zoos) can have algae growing in their hair, which can make them look green! Don’t worry, being green doesn’t cause the Polar bear any harm and a bath with special salt solution turns them white again.

 
 
 

Looking for more details? Check out this article where we dive deeper into the science behind why Polar bears look white!

Earth Rangers is a non-profit organization that works to inspire and educate children about the environment. At EarthRangers.com kids can play games, discover amazing facts, meet animal ambassadors and fundraise to protect biodiversity.
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116 Comments

  1. Ranger56168395 says:

    thats really cool I didn’t know that

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  2. Ranger56169343 says:

    did you know? a polar bears tongue is blue? and their paws act like snowshoes?

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  3. Ranger56170002 says:

    i love the polar
    bear.

    from,
    ashlyn

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  4. Jovanna says:

    I really like the polar bear. It is such a majestic, beautify creature, and we should all do our part to save it, or other animals in the same situation.
    Jovanna

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  5. Ranger56173146 says:

    did you know a polor bears skin is black

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  6. Ranger56174699 says:

    i have a question for you all!did they come to your school!

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  7. nethi says:

    well i know the polar bears fur is clear because the earth rangers came to our school but i did’t know they can turn to light yellow or green!!!???

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  8. Skyboard says:

    my favourite colour. GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. Ranger56180323 says:

    the polar bear is sooo cute and the polar bear’s fur is……………………. clear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. mickeyd9 says:

    polar bears are amazing creatures

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