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What do Polar Bears Eat

Polar bears are easily recognized as the large, white bears that inhabit the arctic region. They are one of the most easily recognized species of bear due to their white coloring and features in documentaries and advertisements. Polar bears live within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses but there are many in zoos and wildlife reserves all over the world. They are the largest species of bear and are also the largest land dwelling carnivores. The Polar Bear has adapted to its life in the freezing cold temperatures of the arctic and has a heavy coat covering a thick layer of fat. The Polar Bear also has black skin under its thick coat to soak in the sun. Polar Bears have the ability to move agilely on the ice and snow and are very competent swimmers. They are classified as a vulnerable species as 8 out of the 19 sub-populations are in decline.

What do Polar Bears eat in the wild?
Even though Polar Bears are born on land they spend most of their time on the sea hunting ringed and bearded seal. This they accomplish by stalking areas in which the ice is cracking and seals may come up to breathe. They also swim from ice floe to ice floe searching for prey. When the hunting is good, mature Polar Bears will only eat the skin and the blubber of the seal as it is rich in calories. Younger Polar Bears will consume the whole seal including the protein rich meat. After a polar bear has fed, it will wash itself with water or snow to clean off the excess food. The Polar Bears diet consists mainly of seal but they may also eat the carcasses of dead marine animals such as whales, eggs, rodents, birds, shell fish, crab, small mammals and other polar bears. They will also eat vegetation such as berries, roots and kelp. In areas where the polar bear population is close to human settlements they will eat garbage.

What do Polar Bears eat in captivity?
Like most animals kept in captivity, handlers try to replicate the animal’s natural diet. In captivity Polar bears will often eat small fish, bones, fruits and other meats. Zoos and wildlife reserves do their best to meet the dietary requirements of the animals in their care.

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