I’ve seen the below image of a polar bear cub a couple of times and although it is pretty cute, unfortunately it isn’t real. Sorry to burst that bubble.
I guess you can’t blame people for getting carried away though, who doesn’t want to share images of cute baby animals?
However, the cub in question is actually a creation of Ukranian artist Tatiana Scalozub (you can see more creations on her website) and was probably originally shared by someone in an honest misunderstanding of what a newly-born baby polar bear actually looks like. Hint: not that.
Now, let me get my pedant hat out and tell you why…
Why isn’t it real?
Well if you think about it, it looks pretty fake, doesn’t it? The bulging eyes and little nose look a little too plastic.
Polar bear cubs are born almost hairless and although they grow their insulatory fur fairly quickly, the small size of the above polar bear cub would suggest that it is straight out of the womb!
Also, while the fur has an uneven, wiry quality and isn’t nearly as densely fluffy as the real thing.
Here’s a video (shown below) of a newborn polar bear cub – take a closer look at the shape and size of the body, and the quality of the fur.
Born hairless? How? Isn’t it cold in the Arctic?
Yes, it is pretty cold, but polar bears give birth under the snow in chambers that are much warmer than the outside temperature. The cubs also crawl onto their mothers chest, away from the packed snow, and nestle into her thick fur.
You may also notice that new born polar bears have pink skin, developing the black melinated skin of adulthood later on.
…and fairly conclusively, the fake polar bear only has four digits. Polar bears, like badgers and otters, have five toes, forming a wide flat foot which is perfect for digging, stomping and walking on uneven surfaces – perfect for their snow-bound, sometimes free-swimming lifestyle of the Arctic!
Want more cute baby animals? How about this baby giraffe… I mean, idk-dik.