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  • Strategy

Paws have non-slip grip: polar bears


Eisbär 1996-07-23 / Ansgar Walk / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

The paws of polar bears grip ice well due to the rough surface of their pads.

"A polar bear spends the winter living on sea ice—ice formed when the ocean freezes. But the bear has no trouble keeping its footing on slippery ground. Its paws are perfect for getting around on a slick, cold surface. Rough pads give it a nonslip grip, and thick fur between the pads keeps the bear’s feet warm. It uses the sharp, curved claws on its front paws like hooks to climb onto the ice from the water. Polar bears' claws also help them dig in the ice when they hunt seals." (Kranking 2001)
About the inspiring organism
Med_polar_bear_1166__171106 Polar bear
Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774
Common name: Polar bear

Other Conservation Info: Listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act
Habitat(s): Marine Neritic, Marine Oceanic, Shrubland
Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Threat Categories LONG_VU IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Quiet tires with better traction on snow and ice, better non-slip soles for shoes, non-slip flooring options.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Trucking and automotive, shoe manufacturing, flooring

Kathy Kranking. 2001. Bear Necessities: How Polar Bears Survive the Deep Freeze. National Geographic Kids Magazine [Internet], Accessed 9/24/2007.
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over 3 years ago
A close-up picture or two of the working part of the pads & claws, please.
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