Polar Bears

Not only are they the largest land carnivore, polar bears also happen to be one of the top predators in the Arctic. Their impressive size (up to 12 feet tall for males) running speed (25 miles per hour), and swimming ability combine to make them one of the fiercest predators around.

Highly dependent on seasonal sea ice for hunting and traveling, global climate change is severely impacting these extraordinary animals. Because of their unstable habitat and food supply, polar bears are considered threatened by the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

You might also enjoy our Wild Arctic Up-Close Experience, a behind-the-scenes tour that features unique animal interactions and the opportunity to talk to the experts who care for them. Just click 'Select' under the Add to Cart section on the right to enhance your day.

Witness the graceful agility of these extraordinary animals at Wild Arctic.

Just what does it take to care for polar bears? Learn the answer to this question and many more on our Behind-the-Scenes Tour. If you can’t get enough of the Arctic, check out the Beluga Interaction Program. Not only will you learn all there is to know about polar bears and walruses, but you will get as close to our beluga whales as the trainers do — in the chilly arctic water!

Q: Where do polar bears live?
SW: These amazing animals live in the polar playgrounds of the icy seas, islands, and continental coastlines throughout the Arctic.

Q: What do they eat?
SW: Anything they can catch! Actually, polar bears mainly prey on ringed seals and bearded seals. They also will eat whale carcasses, beluga whales, and walruses. If their preferred prey is scarce, they can eat reindeer, rodents, waterfowl, bird eggs, fishes and even a few greens for good measure, like kelp.

Q: How big do they get?
SW: Open your hand - a newborn polar bear would likely fit in it.  Yet that cub will grow to become one of the largest land predators alive today.  Adult females can weigh around 500 lb (227 kg) - hefty males can be three times as heavy! The largest specimen ever recorded was a male weighing about 2,209 lb. (1,002 kg) and measuring 12 ft. (3.7 m)!

Q: Do they have blubber?
SW: A thick layer of fat (blubber), up to 4.3 in. (11 cm) thick, keeps the polar bear warm even in ice cold water.  A polar bear's skin is black to absorb sunlight, which also helps them stay warm.