The Diet of Polar Bears

Polar bears are one of the most majestic creatures on Earth.  They can get up to fifteen feet tall (a large male bear) and weigh over two thousand pounds. Their enormous bulk is caused by the fat that is necessary to keep them from freezing in the tundra.  With food sources appearing so scarce, how does a polar bear keep itself so bulked up.

Believe it or not, the best time for the polar bear to hunt in the tundra is during the coldest time of the year.  They need to have a huge layer of ice so that they can find their food in abundance.  It is often that you will see a polar bear just walking along the ice very slowly and very methodically, constantly looking down.  The reason for this is simple:  They are listening for movement under the ice.  If they hear movement under the ice, they will smash through the ice to get to one of their favorite meals, a baby seal.  Baby seals that they find get eaten whole, skull and all.  However, this is counter productive for the massive bears as the ingestion of too much protein will speed up their metabolism, thus leading to weight loss, which is not what the bear wants.

An adult seal in the cold season is a meal that every polar bear wants to have.  The reason that an adult seal is going to help with the polar bears weight issues is that they just eat the fat from the seal, not the meat.  They leave the meat for the scavengers that are about.  By just ingesting the fat of the seal, they are going to gain weight, and this is desirable to the polar bear.  However, in the absence of a ready delicacy like the adult seal, any meal will do.

The long and short of it is that a polar bear will eat anything that will not eat it first.  This includes other polar bears, often the cubs that are too young to properly defend themselves.  Also, the female of the specie is just too small to fend off a large male when it is threatening her cubs.  However, this hunt can take quite a while, as the polar bear cannot run for long distances.  They cannot run because their bodies are so adept at retaining heat, they will overheat and collapse never to rise again.  So, eating meals designed to make you gain weight is a blessing and a curse wrapped up into one package.

Like most other bears of the world, the polar bear is not just a carnivore, though.  They have been known to eat berries and fruits just like any other bear, but this is only in the spring time when the food is plentiful.  However, in the coldest time of the season, a polar bear will actually hunt a human being in search for a meal if no other source is available.  In fact, they are the only bear that is known to hunt human beings as a food source.