The Biggest Land Carnivore
Polar bear at a whale carcass. Photo by Alan D. Wilson
The Biggest Land Carnivore: Polar Bears (Urus maritimus)
The polar bear is native to the Arctic Ocean and its surrounding seas and land. A boar (adult male) weighs around 770–1,500 pounds, while a sow (adult female) is half that. The bears' body is adapted for living in the cold and moving across snow, ice, and open water, in order to hunt seals, which make up most of their diet. Polar bears most of their time at sea, hunting seals from the edges of sea ice, and surviving off their fat reserves when no sea ice is present. The polar bear is a vulnerable species as a result of decades of large scale hunting and more recently because of global climate change. The polar bear has been a key figure in myths of the Arctic indigenous cultures.
Mammal / Land Carnivore
By Jordanna Dulaney
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