Polar Bear Behavior
The polar bear is commonly thought of as an aggressive animal causing fear for humans as we know it is a powerful large predator. However, it might surprise us to learn that they also have noble, peaceful and in many cases, graceful behaviors.
The activities of the polar bear vary according to the season. During the summer months, they spend more time hunting than in the spring, and when they are not looking for food, they choose to rest or sleep.
They are extremely curious! As polar bears commonly don’t leave their lair for the first time until they reach the early stages of adulthood, they are very interested in the world around them. On many occasions, we can observe that they will stand on two legs and raise their heads to look at what is around them while sniffing the air. They even manage to walk in that position for short distances. Spy cameras have been destroyed due to the curiosity they arouse in these animals – investigating the cameras and touching them with their enormous claws can result in crushing them.
Their aggressiveness increases during the reproductive seasons or when another polar bear tries to steal their food.
They are solitary, except for mothers with their offspring, breeding pairs and groups formed by a great abundance of food, such as when there is a whale carcass that is able to support the feeding of a large number of them. Some stay together for a few periods of time until they finally decide to go their own way. Their aggressiveness increases in the reproductive seasons, in which the males face each other to have the right to mate or fight over food.
Unlike other species of Ursids, polar bears do not hibernate, but enter a state of lethargy in which the functions of their bodies are still active. Pregnant females also go through this state in which their heart rate and temperature decreases, but they do not have deep sleep as in the case of hibernation and any movement or strange presence can wake them up quickly.
Polar bears do not hibernate, but enter a state of lethargy.
On many occasions polar bears have been seen performing funny behaviors, such as scrubbing in the snow and sinking their heads, rolling on their backs, hitting the ground with their legs or playing with branches. The young polar bears often play with the food that their mothers caught, throwing it through the air and nibbling it without tearing off the pieces. Seeing such a large and wild animal having such playful behaviors is very entertaining.
Polar bear behavior around humans
If you have had the opportunity to watch documentaries on television with episodes dedicated to polar bears, you may have noticed that researchers who travel with all their equipment to these latitudes have prior knowledge of almost all the situations that surround them. If in their expeditions through the Arctic they see polar bears, they know their state of mind well thanks to the body position and the look that these mammals exhibit before their presence. With this they have an idea of knowing if their life is in danger or if the animal does not intend to attack.
Curious polar bears will almost always observe and stay alert to noises, movements and smells made by people who are nearby. They can get up on two legs and move their head in various directions to perceive the smell. In this case best practice is to remain calm, move away slowly and try not to make any loud noises that could startle the bear.
Researchers can read a polar bear’s likely behavior thanks to their body position and the look that bears express in their presence.
When a polar bear is agitated, it will perform loud vocalizations, lower its head or stare at the strange being. If this happens, it is time to move away very slowly without making eye contact with it, as this increases its aggressiveness.
Now, to know if it is a predatory male of enormous size in search of some prey, it is enough to see if it watches from afar or if it approaches quickly and without signs of fear. Here the best thing is to make loud noises or look bigger, as it will most likely be thrown over to attack.
Before any encounter with a polar bear, the most important thing is not to run.
No doubt polar bears are dangerous, but none is more threatening than a female with her young. Like all mothers, they will go to great lengths to protect their babies and may attack without warning. If you were to see a beautiful polar bear cub, it is better to get away immediately before becoming a victim of the protective mother.
Experts advise that before any encounter with a polar bear, the most important thing is not to run, because this is very attractive for a predator, and also, several steps of ours can be one for them, not only because of the size of their feet, but because they are adapted to walk through the snow with agility, unlike us who would do it with much difficulty.