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The polar bear (Ursus maritimus, formerly Thalarctos maritimus) is the largest living land carnivore, with adult males growing up to 2.6 meters in length. The most well known of all bears, the polar bear is immediately recognizable from the distinctive white color of its thick fur. The only unfurred parts of the body are the foot pads and the tip of its nose, which are black, revealing the brown color of the skin underneath the pelt. The neck of the polar bear is longer than in other species of bears, and the elongated head has small ears. Polar bears have large strong limbs and huge forepaws which are used as paddles for swimming. The toes are not webbed but are excellent for walking on snow as they bear non-retractable claws which dig into the snow like ice-picks. The soles of the feet also have small projections and indents which act like suction cups and help this bear to walk on ice without slipping. Females are about half the size of males, although a pregnant female with stored fat can exceed 500 kilograms in weight. Polar bear cubs weigh up to 0.7 kilograms at birth. They look similar in appearance to adults, though they have much thinner fur. With an incredible sense of smell, the polar bear is able to detect prey nearly a kilometer away and up to a meter under the snow. It is symbolized as the national animal of Greenland.

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