Why do polar bears look so white?

Polar bears are known for their distinctive white fur, which helps them blend in with their snowy Arctic environment. There are a few reasons why polar bears look so white.

Firstly, polar bear fur is actually not white, but transparent. Each hair shaft is hollow and reflects light, which creates the appearance of a white coat. The transparent hair shafts also allow sunlight to reach the bear’s skin, which helps the bear to absorb heat and stay warm in the cold Arctic environment.

Secondly, polar bear fur is made up of two layers: a short, dense undercoat and longer guard hairs. The guard hairs are actually colorless, but the tips of the hairs can become yellow or brown due to exposure to sunlight, which can give the bears a slightly yellowish appearance in some areas.

Thirdly, polar bears have black skin, which helps them absorb heat from the sun. The white fur reflects light and helps to camouflage the bear in the snowy Arctic landscape, while the black skin absorbs heat from the sun to keep the bear warm.

Finally, polar bears have evolved to have white fur as an adaptation to their environment. In the Arctic, where snow and ice cover the landscape for much of the year, having white fur helps polar bears blend in and hunt more effectively. It also helps to camouflage them from predators and prey.

In conclusion, polar bears look white because of their transparent fur, which reflects light and helps them blend in with their snowy environment. The black skin underneath the fur helps them absorb heat from the sun, while the colorless guard hairs and evolutionary adaptations to their environment have also contributed to their distinctive appearance.