Chicago Polar Bears Stay Inside During Polar Vortex, Too Cold Even For Them

Chicago polar bears have the right idea.

Even the subzero-equipped bears are staying away from the frigid, record-low temperatures that have taken over most of the country thanks to the polar vortex.

At the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, polar bear Anana stayed inside on Monday rather than risk the freezing temperatures.

Though these bears are used to subzero temperatures and howling wind in their normal habitat, zoo spokeswoman Sharon Dewar says the Chicago polar bears aren’t exactly equipped to handle it. Unlike her wild counterparts, Anana doesn’t have the thick layer of fat built up to protect her from the cold. Instead of a diet that includes seals and whale carcasses, the Chicago polar bear has a bit more low-fat diet that makes the Midwestern summers comfortable.

While the polar bears stayed inside, the rest of Chicago had to deal with the effects of the polar vortex. The cold forced Chicago Public Schools as well as many neighboring districts to close for both Monday and Tuesday, and Metra canceled more than 50 trains between the two days.

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But the cold snap has already had disastrous effects. While the Chicago polar bears were able to retreat, residents were left dealing with the cold and heavy snow that officials say is already responsible for several deaths. Four men, all middle-aged, have died while shoveling snow in what officials believe to be heart attacks.

There is a bit of a reprieve in the outlook, with temperatures expected to climb into the positives and then creep toward double digits in the next few days. By Friday, temperatures in Chicago are expected to be close to normal, reaching above the freezing mark as the city sees rain.

While it dipped well below zero outside, the Chicago polar bears stayed inside, where the thermostat was set between 40 and 50 degrees.