What Do Polar Bears Eat?


Quick Answer

Polar bears are carnivores that mostly eat seals, particularly ringed seals but also bearded seals, harp seals and hooded seals. Polar bears eat only the calorie-rich blubber of their prey, abandoning the rest of the animal. They will also eat walruses, seabirds, small mammals, fish and small amounts of vegetation, and will consume any suitable carrion they come across.

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Full Answer

Polar bears mostly hunt by finding a seal's breathing hole and waiting. These holes in sea ice are dug by seals to give them a place to breathe and emerge to rest on the ice. When the seal sticks its head up for a breath, the polar bear catches it, drags it onto the ice and kills and eats it almost immediately. If the polar bear spots a seal out of the water, it will instead stalk it either over ice or from the water.

Polar bears are very adept swimmers, to the point that some scientists consider them marine mammals. Polar bears have been known to walk and swim huge distances, getting as far south as Maine. In addition to their fur, Polar bears have a layer of fat which serves as both calorie storage and insulation in water. This is essential in the arctic waters where they are normally found. Polar bears exist in all regions of the far North near coastlines.

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