One of the Earth's largest and most powerful carnivores, the polar bear is found in all the world's Arctic seas and coastal lines. In appearance, it differs from other bears in its longer neck, long narrow head and longer legs as well as its signature creamy white coat.
The polar bear may surpass the Alaskan grizzly in size. Adult males usually weigh between 400 and 600 kg (880 to 1300 lb.) but occasionally as much as 800 kg (1,760 lb.). Females are 15 to 20% smaller than males.
Polar Bears are the most carnivorous of the bears. They eat not only more red meat (mainly ringed and bearded seals) than other bears, they also catch more live prey. Only occasionally, particularly during severe summer food shortages, will these animals eat birds and bird eggs, crabs, grass, berries, mushrooms and carrion.
When disturbed, a polar bear will head for open water at a rolling gallop, its top speed reaching about 40 km/h (25 MPH). Besides humans, polar bears have no significant predators, but they occasionally fall victim to killer whales or other polar bears.
Learn about prehistoric populations.