Friday, June 25, 2010
Fun Fur Facts Friday
Today is Friday, so I thought I would share a fun fur fact or two with you.
I love to watch polar bears and their antics at the zoo, playing in the water and with their huge rubber balls. It would be fascinating to see them in the wild, but I have a hard time being in such cold weather. Polar bears are so strikingly beautiful because they have such lovely white fur. Or do they?
Polar bear fur has long guard hairs that protect the dense insulating undercoat. These guard hairs are hollow and transparent, not white. The undercoat hairs are not hollow, but they are also colorless. The white appearance of the fur is from the air spaces in each hair scattering light of all colors, much like what happens with ice and snow. Our eyes see white when something reflects back to us all colors of the visible wavelengths of light instead of absorbing some of the wavelengths.
Ah, the fascinating polar bear. Did you know that a polar bear's skin is black?
[Sources: Library of Congress, Everyday Mysteries and Polar Bears International, Bear Essentials, Polar Style]