The polar bear is the world's largest land carnivore and one of the largest of the bear family.


Food and Hunting

The polar bear is carnivorous, eating mainly the ringed seal, although small land mammals, carcasses of marine mammals and reindeer, berries etc, also form part of the diet.  They are at the top of the food chain and are important at keeping the seal population in check as well as being vital for many other food web connections.

One of the mainstays of the polar bear's diet is the ringed seal which it stalks across the ice or ambushes at a breathing hole. The white-yellow coat of a bear acts as camouflage against the snow-coloured background. The seal is killed by a blow from the bear's powerful paw. The fat and skin is usually eaten first and the meat left until last.

During the late summer and early autumn polar bears will search for walrus and whale carcasses (carrion) along the coastal areas. Sometimes ten or twenty bears may be feeding at a carcass. There is more open land at this time of year and the diet is more varied, including lemmings, Arctic foxes, ducks and their eggs. Polar bears, like most bears, will also feed on berries, toadstools, mosses, lichens, grasses, seaweeds etc.

Read More: Polar Bears and Humans

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