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To Hibernate - or Not to Hibernate

Two species of bears are widespread in the Arctic - polar bears on the coasts and ice pack, and grizzly bears inland.

Some major differences are:

1. Grizzlies (like other brown and black bears) eat as much as they can during the summer to build up fat. They have to live off their body fat while they hibernate through the winter.

Polar bears spend the winter eating as much as they can to store up body fat for the summer. When the ice is gone, they can't hunt for seals, and they have to survive through a lean summer scrounging whatever they can find.

2. With the exception of pregnant females, polar bears don't hibernate - they use every available moment to hunt. Females dig a den and their cubs are born while they hibernate through the winter.

3. Grizzly bears are omnivores and eat things like berries, fish, caribou and hikers. Polar bears eat seals and tourists.

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Library: Arctic, Polar Bears, Animals, Ice
Links: Arctic, Arctic Animals
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports


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