When it comes to polar bears, the answer seems to be no – it’s in the feet!
Polar bears cover huge home ranges, and they generally travel alone. That means that when it comes time to find a mate, it can be pretty difficult.
Most animals with similar lifestyles tend to rub their bodies over stationary landmarks – like rocks and trees – to communicate their availability to potential mates. But that’s not exactly possible in the Arctic, which is mostly just snow and ice.
As a result, polar bears seem to have developed a unique strategy; they use their paws.
According to a 2014 study, polar bears are thought to release pheromone scents through glands in their paws, and from those scents, other polar bears may be able to determine the sex of other bears. Males even seem to be able to tell whether females are ovulating.
Polar bear researcher Ian Stirling wrote about the lengths males go to find females in his 2011 book Polar Bear: The Natural History of a Threatened Species.
“I have tracked individual adult males as they plodded relentlessly in a more-or-less straight line across the frozen pack ice, or along the edges of leads, for 100 km or more non-stop, in search of a possibly receptively female.”
So, as it turns out, the way to a polar bear’s heart is through the feet.
If you want to show your love for our polar bears today, consider committing to a small monthly donation to help feed them high quality meats and produce. Did you know that $5 buys them 1kg of seal blubber?