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Over the years Polar bears, Ursus maritimus, have become one of the most recognizable marine mammals found on our planet. But it has become a common misconception that these sea bears love to snack on penguins. So why can polar bears and penguins never be friends? Because they’re polar opposites!

In Greek Arctic means bear while Antarctic means the opposite of Arctic (or opposite of bear). Polar bears are found in the Arctic, not the Antarctic. That’s why polar bears and penguins will never meet; they’re found in the north while penguins are found in the south. They are literally on opposite sides of the earth!

You might be wondering then if polar bears aren’t snacking on penguins then what do these apex predators eat? Seals serve as the primary food source for these massive marine mammals and they tend to stalk their favorite prey by lurking near the breathing holes seals create all throughout the ice. Polar bears have also been known to snack upon walruses, belugas, narwhales, seabirds, and even reindeer! And because polar bears are the largest of the bear species they must eat a lot in order to survive. It is estimated that females can get up to 600 lbs while males can reach a whopping 1800 lbs!

 

These massive marine mammals have developed partially webbed paws with retractable claws to help catch prey as well as swim. With these paws polar bears have been known to travel upwards of 60 miles or more within a single a day!

Written By: Alex Feltes

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