Giant beasts are the masters of raw and powerful abilities. Bears are well-known large beasts that are diverse in species. Polar bears and grizzly bears are most popular among the species because of their large beastly size and powerful abilities. Because of the exciting features, comparisons between Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears are fascinating. 

Polar Bear v/s Grizzly Bear is an interesting debate. There are many similarities and comparisons between these two species of bears. This article will be helpful and informative to know about the differences between Polar bears and Grizzly bears. That way, you can get a clear idea about the significant differences between Polar bears and Grizzly bears.

Table of Contents

Polar Bears

Polar bears are the most ferocious predators in the world and the most giant bears in the arctic region. It is estimated that the polar bears are the sisters of brown bears as they diverged from brown bears between 250,000 and 130,000 years ago. They have evolved to adapt to cold temperatures and depend mostly on ice to travel and hunt seals to make up most of their appetite. They are called marine mammals due to their favorable adaptations in cold weather.

The scientific name of Polar Bears is Ursus Maritimus, meaning ‘sea bear.’ They are hyper carnivorous bears who live primarily in the arctic circle. They are adapted to cold and icy environments. Polar bears have a thick layer of fur and blubber that keeps them warm and heated in the freezing climate. They are the largest extant bear species. Due to climate changes and rising sea levels, the population of polar bears is declining alarmingly. 

Polar bears are indeed the majestic creatures of the arctic. They rely mainly on the sea ice for traveling, resting, mating and hunting. These bears are excellent swimmers. They swim comfortably at a pace of 6 miles per hour by paddling their front paws and holding their hind legs like a rudder. They have a thick layer of body fat under their skin and a water repellent coat that keeps them warm in the cold icy water.

The male polar bears weigh 350-700kg or 770- 1540lb, while the female weighs almost half of the size of the male. They are warm-blooded mammals with strong limbs and a height of nearly 6-9 ft. They have sharp claws and furry feet that help them walk in the snow.

Seals play a considerable part in the diet of a polar bear. The polar bears spend half of their time hunting for food. They prefer ringed and bearded seals so that they can build up large amounts of fat in their body to survive in the cold.  

Sadly, due to the potential loss of sea ice and rising temperatures, polar bears are declining in number. They were listed as threatened species in the US under the Endangered Species Act in May 2008. 

What do Polar Bears eat?

Polar bears are hyper carnivorous meat-eaters. They mainly eat ringed and bearded seals since they help them to create body fat and heat. The polar bears wait for the seals to come on the ice surface to breathe. The ringed seal is their favorite meal.

They also eat fish. Polar bears prefer only two types of fishes which are fourhorn sculpin and arctic charr. But they don’t much prefer fish to be a part of their main diet because the fish in the arctic region is deep down in the cold sea, which is out of reach to the polar bears. And another fact is that fishes cannot be an alternative to seals since fishes cannot produce any body fat.

You may also be wondering, Do polar bears eat penguins? Well, they don’t. Polar bears live in the northern hemisphere, and penguins live in the southern hemisphere.

Polar bears are not man-eating bears. But whenever there is a food crisis or the number of seals declines, the polar bears can attack humans.

Where can we find polar bears?

Polar bears are mainly found in the northern hemisphere. Their habitat ranges in the arctic circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean. There are five countries included in the polar bear habitat range: Denmark, Norway, Russia, The United States( only in Alaska), and Canada. 

Polar Bears are found mainly in Canada. 60% of the polar bear population lives in Canada.

Can polar bears live in warm regions?

Yes, polar bears can live in warm regions, but it will be very stressful because their bodies adapt to the cold.

Are Polar Bears Friendly?

Polar Bears look friendly. They are soft and cuddly in appearance. But don’t be fooled by their appearance since they are the most ferocious predators and expert hunters of their bear family.

The Male polar bears act aggressively during breeding seasons and when other polar bears try to steal their food. 

Normally polar bears do not eat humans, but the behavior of hungry polar bears cannot be predicted. However, unless provoked, polar bears do not attack or harm any human being. They are fearless towards people since they have low interaction with people.

Can you keep a polar bear as a pet?

Polar bears would be great for a pet because they are adorable and cuddly. Well, however, you can tame the cubs. But the adult polar bears have unpredictable behavior. They are fearless towards people since they have low interaction with people. So attacking or eating a human being is not a matter of surprise. And it is also illegal to pet a polar bear.

How much do polar bears weigh?

Polar bears are the mighty beasts of the north. The male polar bear weighs about 800-1300 lb. In contrast, the female weighs half which is 300-700lb. Their height ranges from 6 to 9ft.

How to save your life when a polar bear attacks?

The probability of being attacked by a polar bear is rare. According to polar bears international, instances of polar bear attacks occur only once or twice a year. If you are traveling to polar bear country, you can take preventive measures or deterrents, such as bear spray or firearms.

Are Polar Bears endangered?

According to WWF, The population of polar bears ranges between 22,000 and 36,000 globally. However, the most recent study presented by Hamilton and Daroser in 2018 estimates the population of polar bears to be 23,000 globally. The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist group lists polar bears as vulnerable species to extinction. Due to climate changes, the population of polar bears is dramatically declining. The melting of Arctic ice has become the main threat to their survival. If the authority does not take the necessary steps, we might get to see dramatic crises in the polar bear population by mid-century.


Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bears are the subspecies of brown bears that are inhabitants of North America. They are also called North American brown bears or simply grizzlies. Grizzly bears are brown, and their fur can appear white-tipped or grizzled. They are threatened species that are protected by law in the US. Grizzlies can also be seen in Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia.

The scientific name of a grizzly bear is Ursus arctos horribilis. There are two subspecies of brown bears in North America: the Kodiak Bear and the peninsular grizzly. Due to similarities, These species are also sometimes identified as mainland grizzlies.  Grizzly bears living in the northern coastal areas are giant, while the inland grizzly bears are smaller in size.

Grizzlies are massive bears with humped shoulders and elevated foreheads. Their face looks like an oval-shaped dish with short and rounded ears. Also, they have long claws of length 2-4 inches on their front feet. Their humped shoulders and long claws give strength and the ability to dig for food and shelter.

The male grizzly bears weigh 400-790 lb or 180-30kg, whereas the female grizzlies weigh 290-400lb or 130-180 kg. The newborn grizzlies weigh less than 500gm or 1.1 lb. Their average length is about 198cm. You can identify them with their ‘dished in’ faces with small rounded ears. The Kodiak bear is the largest subspecies of brown bears. They weigh 780kg and have a length of 3m. 

Grizzly bears are omnivores, or you can say, top-of-the-food-chain predators. Their diet consists of both green plants and animals, depending on what food is available during the season. They eat roots, berries, fruits, and grasses and hunt fish, ground squirrels, carrion, moose, elk, caribou, and deer. They also target domestic cattle for their prey. A grizzly bear eats anything nutritious to help them produce heat and energy.

Grizzly bears have powerful strengths and abilities. They have an excellent memory. Also, these are intelligent mammals with a good sense of smell. They can detect their food from any distance without any hassle.

Grizzlies are armed with qualities that help them tackle danger as well as hunt for food. They are also expert swimmers and fast runners. They can run at a pace of 50km/h. Bear cubs also can climb trees efficiently, but this ability fades as they grow bigger and heavier. 

Grizzlies usually roam around alone, as they are solitary mammals. In exception, sometimes, the mother bear and cubs travel in groups. Large gatherings can be seen near-prime Alaskan fishing points during the summer spawning season when salmon are abundant. 

During this time, grizzlies gather to feast on fish and fulfill the fat craving to help sustain during the winter season. These bears are ideally adapted to survive seasonal changes. They excessively eat fruits and animals during warmer seasons, such that their body produces adequate heat and energy to help them survive cold winters or when there is a shortage of food.

Grizzlies hibernate inside their dug-out dens while the female bears give birth to offspring during the winter. But Grizzlies are not true hibernators; during the winter season, they reside in their dens and go into a deep sleep called torpor. Their heartbeat slows down, and energy is conserved, helping them sustain themselves during the challenging cold periods.

Grizzly bears are listed least concern by the IUCN and listed as threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  The population of grizzly bears is threatened by deforestation, logging, and mining due to the loss of habitat and food. Sometimes grizzlies are shot by shooters mistaking them to be black bears. In Canada, hunting grizzly bears are considered a highly cheered sport. But after gaining protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1975, the number of grizzly bears has increased ever since.

What  Does Grizzly Bear Eat?

Grizzly bears are omnivorous animals. They eat anything nutritious they find, such as nuts, juicy roots, fruits, grass, fish, deer, elk, etc. Their diet mainly depends on the abundance and quality of food available during a particular season.

Where can we Find Them?

Grizzlies mainly habitat in western Canada and the northwestern region of the United States. Almost 98% of the grizzly bear population lives in Northwestern America. You can find them in woodlands, forests, meadows, and prairies. 

Is Grizzly Bear Friendly?

Grizzly bears are wild animals. So the thought of befriending a grizzly bear is quite a difficult task. Grizzly bears are dangerous and ferocious because of their bite, which is measured over five megapascals. One bite from a grizzly bear can crush a bowling ball. The female bears with cubs are more ferocious. These mammals show a low desire to interact with people rather than tend to avoid them. And bear attacks are rare nowadays.

Can a Grizzly Bear Pet?

Grizzly bears are wild, ferocious animals. They cannot be domesticated. But these mammals have great intelligence that makes it possible to tame them. Grizzly bears can be tamed by special training. But some states in the US have made it illegal to exotic pet animals. However, there is no such strict restriction in  Nevada, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. 

Do Grizzly People Attack People?

Nowadays, grizzly bear attacks are pretty rare. But the behavior of a grizzly bear is unpredictable. They seldom attack people when provoked or threatened; otherwise, they avoid them. 

How to save your life when a Grizzly bear attacks?

According to the National Parks service website on bear attacks, when a grizzly bear attacks, you play dead. Don’t run; just lay on the ground in a fetal position and protect your neck with your hands. Grizzly bears don’t attack when they don’t feel any danger or threat.

UDAP bear spray is a suggested one. This spray is a highly concentrated capsaicin spray that will create a cloud stopping the bear in its track and giving you time to escape. It is recommended to carry bear spray whenever you travel to a bear country.


Polar Bear VS Grizzly Bear

Bears are the mighty beasts of nature. There are eight species of bear, each species having different scales of ability and strength. The largest in the family is the polar bear, and the Polar bear is the only carnivorous species in the bear family. Most bears are omnivorous, and yes, most of them love honey; one of them is the Grizzly bear. 

Polar bears and grizzly bears are considered sisters due to similarities in DNA as well as anatomy. They are intelligent mammals who are expert swimmers and runners. They both are ferocious predators. Yet, there are differences in habitat, diet, strength, and ability levels between them.  Differences between polar bears and grizzly bears are a fascinating and debating topic.

Habitat:

Polar bears live in one of the earth’s coldest places which is the northern hemisphere. They inhabit the arctic circle that comprises the arctic ocean and its surrounding continental islands and coastal areas. They depend on their insulated translucent fur that covers a thick layer of fat for survival.

Grizzly bears roam around in the woodlands, alpines, meadows, and forests. They mainly inhabit Western Canada and Alaska, in the North-Western U.S.  These bears need ample space for living, almost 600 square miles. Once, they lived in larger parts of western U.S., but now due to deforestation and other development projects, their home range has declined. However, one can still find them in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington State. At the same time, their main home is the Yellowstone National Park. 

Diet:

Polar bears are carnivores. Their appetite typically includes seals, and seals help them produce the required body heat for sustainable living.

On the contrary, Grizzly Bears are omnivores. They are the top of the food chain predators. They usually eat anything nutritious. Their diet includes plants such as juicy roots, fruits, berries, and more animals such as rodents, fish, moose, etc. 

Behavior:

Polar bears are the master of the Arctic with zero natural enemies. They are ferocious predators. They don’t fear humans and thus don’t hesitate to attack them. The female polar bears act aggressively while protecting younger polar bears. 

On the contrary, Grizzly bears don’t attack humans unless provoked or threatened. Rather they avoid interaction with humans. They are indeed more ferocious than polar bears. But their behavior is quite unpredictable.


Who will win a fight between a polar bear and a grizzly bear?


Wondering who would win a fight between a polar bear and a grizzly bear has stirred a lot of curiosity in the audience. These two species have qualities that are superior to one another. Such that the polar bear is bigger than the grizzly bear with sharper teeth and powerful claws. On the other hand, the grizzly bear is more aggressive with a better skeletal structure.

A grizzly bear is more ferocious and robust than a polar bear. Even though the polar bear is bigger in size, they have thin skull construction compared to that of a grizzly bear. Grizzly bears have thick skulls and stronger shoulders. A polar bear is bigger, but a grizzly bear has more powerful strength and abilities.

In cold situations, a grizzly bear and a polar bear will have a tough fight, but in the end, You cannot deny that the grizzly bear is the winner. On the contrary, if they fight in warm circumstances, obviously grizzly bears win since polar bears cannot adjust to warm environments. Grizzly bears have flexible adaptability features. And Grizzly bears have sufficient advantages to win a polar bear out.

So one way or another, the grizzly bear wins. But you never know. So a fight between a polar bear and a grizzly bear will be indeed very interesting to watch.

Polar BearGrizzly Bear
HabitatArctic circle or the Northern Hemispherenorthwest America(mostly Alaska) and Western Canada
AppearanceBlack skin with translucent fur and blue tongue. Three eyelidsAre brown in color, and their fur can appear white-tipped or grizzled. Dished in the face with elevated foreheads and humped shoulders.
DietCarnivorousOmnivorous
AppetiteRidged and bearded seal. Sometimes fishPlants like juicy roots, nuts, berries, fruits, etc, and animals like deer, moose, elk, etc.
AdaptationAdapted to cold weather. They can survive warm weather, but it will be very stressful for themAdapted to warm weather. They fall into a deep sleep named torpor during winter, which is almost similar to hibernation.
Weight900 -1600lb800 lb
Size7.25 – 8 ft5 – 8 ft
Average Lifespan25 to 30 years25 years
Status (according to IUCN)VulnerableLeast Concern

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Samuel Smith

Samuel Smith is a curious person with tremendous experience. He enjoys sharing his story with everyone and is always ready for new opportunities.