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Polar Bear Vs. Grizzly Bear

The Polar bear – also known as Ursus maritimus – is the largest terrestrial carnivore, whereas the Grizzly bear – the North American brown bear – is the second largest terrestrial flesh-eating mammal. These animals are closely related and have quite the same strength and size. They are powerful enough to take down enormous prey. But which of these two bears would win in a fight? How are the two alike? How are they different? Let’s compare bears.

Bear Evolution History

The Polar bears initially separated themselves from the other carnivores about 38 million years ago. The oldest fossil of a polar bear aged between 130,000 to 110,000 years was found in Prince Charles Foreland in the year 2004.

While the grizzly bear originated from the Asian subspecies Ursus savini approximately 800,000 years ago, the oldest fossil of the brown bear was found in China and had aged for 500,000 years.

Numerous studies have suggested that the polar bear’s molar changed from the grizzly’s teeth between 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. DNA has proven that both Polar bears and grizzlies were genetical of the same species but later separated from one another around 400,000 years ago 

Behaviors of Both Species

  • In both species, the males are not involved in raising the cubs.
  • Polar bears have remote ranges, while brown ranges have a home range of about 44 square miles (155 km squared).
  • Polar bears and brown bears can walk on their hind legs.
  • Brown bears are very territorial, but Polar bears are not.
  • Both Polar bears and brown bears prefer to come out at dusk (are nocturnal).
  • Polar bears are generally carnivores, while brown bears are omnivorous.
  • Both bears have a life expectancy of about 25 years, but the oldest grizzly died at 50 years.

Polar Bear Vs. Grizzly Bear Size

The overall length of Polar bears is around 2.4-3 meters (7 ft. 10 – 9 ft. 10 in) and has a shoulder height of 122-160 cm. Grizzly bears are approximately 1.4 – 2.8 m in total length and have a shoulder height of 70- 153 cm (2 ft. 4- 5 ft.)  In terms of tails, the polar bear measures about 7-13 cm, while the grizzly measures around 6-22 cm (2.4- 8.7 in). Other physical features of the bears can be compared as follows:

  • Compared to grizzly bears, the polar bear’s skull and nose are longer.
  • Polar bears are excellent swimmers, but brown bears cannot swim.
  • Brown bears possess sharper and longer claws for digging and killing prey. Polar bears have a firmer grip for walking on ice.
  • Grizzlies possess elongated legs and ears than those of Polar bears.

Which Bear Would Win in a Fight?

Since both of these mammals are extremely massive and have powerful muscular strength, it is undeniable that a virtual match between them would be quite aggressive. However, grizzly bears are tougher than polar bears as they possess stronger and longer claws and an elongated skull with sharp and long canines that can completely separate the flesh from bone. 

Habitat: Polar Bear Vs. Grizzly Bear

Polar bears prefer living in habitats that contain plenty of water and sea ice, while brown bears can live in numerous habitats. This included coastal estuaries, meadows, desert edges, temperate forests, steppes, alpine forests, and open landscapes.

Visit Yellowstone Bear World Today

Are you interested in seeing grizzly bears in their natural habitat? During your vacation trip to Yellowstone National Park, make sure to visit us at Yellowstone Bear World to enjoy a unique wildlife viewing experience. Call us at (208) 359-9688 for more details.


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