Where Do Polar Bears Find Their Food?

polar-bears-food Credit: Drew Avery/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Polar bears find their food in holes, in the ice or they attempt to find their food — which includes reindeer, waterfowl, kelp and berries — along the shore. Polar bears generally rely on still hunting, in which they sit beside a hole in the ice and wait for a seal to appear.

Seals cut approximately 10 to 15 breathing holes in the ice. Using their sense of smell, the polar bear will locate these holes and wait for the seals to surface. Polar bears are extremely patient when hunting because they will often be forced to sit from just a few hours to several days while waiting on their prey. When ringed seals are in abundance, polar bears will often only eat the thick layer of blubber and skin, and one polar bear can eat as much as 100 pounds of blubber in one meal. Polar bears also have an excellent sense of smell. They will often travel as much as 20 miles to feed off the carcass of dead whales, walruses and narwhals.

Polar bears are opportunistic. They will feed on whatever is available, especially during the summer months if they are stranded on the land. Some bears will forage through garbage looking for their next meal or even eat bird eggs where available.