Are polar bears friendly?

In the unlikely event you met one, would it let you pet it? Or just kill you on the spot?

Most likely #2. Polar bears are exceedingly dangerous.


You are talking about one of the largest land-dwelling carnivores in existence. Males can be over 3/4 ton. They have almost no natural enemies and are pretty much at the top of the food chain, eating prey that is bigger than you are.

I don’t know how agressive polar bears actually are, and I’ve read that there have been very few polar bear attacks and that most of those were either very hungry or being aggravated by people. I’ve certainly heard of people being attacked when they wanted to pat the cute bear or get their photo taken next to one.

Simply put there is no reason for one not to eat you if you walk up to it. You may be imposing on its territory, or just smell yummy. Google “Polar bear attacks” and you will find a lot of information including plenty of warnings from travel sites regarding areas where these animals are a concern.

Timothy Treadwell thought that he could live amongst the grizzly bears and give them cute names and whatnot, you can find out what happened to him by watching this movie:

I was at the zoo one day and all the poople and kids were oohing and aahing over the polar bear & how cute he was. Quick as a flash, he stood up on his hind legs, swatted a bird straight out of the sky and munched down its bloody carcass in no time flat. Blood is very very red on a white polar bear.

Utter. Silence.

Cute? Maybe from a l-o-n-g distance.

I hear that dolphins don’t act as cute as they look. At the place I work, the meanest dogs are the cutest ones :stuck_out_tongue:

Just finished watching the excellent BBC documentary series “The Blue Planet”: it had footage of polar bears killing whales. Fairly smallish whales, say about 20 foot, but they were trapped under the Arctic ice until the spring thaw, with only a small hole they kept open to breathe. They were covered in claw marks: periodically a polar bear would dive down and have a go, and drag the carcass out if they were successful. Now, if these things can kill a 20 foot whale - in the water, with only teeth and claws - and then haul the body out, how much chance would you stand?

I’ve never gotten near a polar bear, but I’ve lived in the Arctic. Word there was that polar bears were the only carnivore that treated man as just another prey item. Inuit had an attitude towards them that ranged from healthy respect to downright terror.

Petting one – not such a great idea.

They will fuck you up without giving it a second thought. I saw a thing recently that said the problem folks in the North are experiencing is that due to global warming, the polar bears don’t have enough ice to hang out on, which is what they do when they hunt. So they move into the towns. There was a lot of footage involving polar bears, break-ins, and general mayhem because the natural habitat has been compromised.

Maybe only in one case should you approach a polar bear- if you’re a mom. I swear I saw a news story not long ago where a bear came into town and was heading for a group of kids playing hockey. Mom got in between them, wrestled with the bear, and lived to tell the tale. I think they had to shoot the bear six times to take it down.

Here it is- Mom vs. Bear.

Damn, woman!

All fun aside, she was lucky as hell. I think maybe the bear was ill or otherwise disoriented, because it should have taken her head off with one quick claw swipe…

Polar bears that wander into our Arctic villages such as Barrow are killed almost immediately by the local Natives. Polar bears see all living things as possible prey, are aggressive, cunning and ferocious. While the photos of them make them look somewhat doglike and cuddly, the opposite is true. In the history of our contract, only one man has been badly mauled by a polar bear. In that case, the bear came through the wall to get him.

So that whole, “Where’s this Eskimo I have to kill?” thing is bullshit eh?

From the BBC Website:

“The polar bear is the largest land carnivore and has a reputation as the only animal that actively hunts humans.”

Back in my day, birds had more sense than to fly over polar bears.

I remember that story. Wow.

Where I live, I sometimes have to chase small bears off our property. Small Black Bears. 2- 300 pounds.

I’m a big guy, and I make sure that the bear is at least four times farther away from me than I am from the front door of my house or a car. And I’ll be carrying a gun.

Haven’t had one charge me yet. They usually just walk a bit away and watch me. Which is a bit eerie. They smelled something they want. And are perfectly content to wait for it.

If the bear does not run, I will fire a round into a stump near it. The sound of the shot chases him off.

I kind of feel bad about it. I’m encroaching on his territory. More than he is on mine.

One of my Dad’s buddies was driving home drunk from the bar one night. He was a meteorologist up in Churchill, Manitoba. He came on a polar bear and decided to try and push it out of the way with the car.

He survived, the car did not.

Your actions were wise. Black bears are among the smallest and least aggresive, and still there have been cases where they have attacked and badly mauled or killed humans. The grizzly (including the Alaskan Brown) and polar bears are vastly bigger and more aggresive. Not to be messed with. Pound for pound, they may be among the strongest animals.

If you are in their territory, you want a rifle with great stopping power. Shooting one with a .30-.30 for example may just aggrivate it, and you don’t want to see an angry Brown or Polar Bear comming towards you, trust me.

The Inuit and most Indians have great respect and admiration for bears. What is astonishing is that in the olden days (maybe even still), the Inuit used to hunt Polar bears with just spears. If they were lucky, they could get a spear into the bear’s heart before being decapitated.

Thank you.

We have two big dogs now, in a fenced yard that has a doggie door into the house. All dog food is inside always. No birdfeeders. I’ve seen a Black bear climb 4x4 posts to get at a feeder on the second story meant for hummingbirds.

We do keep our trash in bags in a shed about 50 feet from the house. That is certainly a draw. But at least it isn’t in the house. At least in the few months that is summer here. Twice bears have tried to get into it (in 15 years), but have not succeded. I did have to replace the door one time though.

The few times (4?) that I have had to chase bears off, I take a .357 with me. Mostly for a noise maker. I make damn sure that I can get into cover before a bear could get to me. They are not the slow lumbering beasts that some people think.

Agreed. But I am talking Black bears. If push came to shove, I call Fish and Game. Did one time for an injured moose in our yard.

I’ll never forget. Dogs spotted it at about 5am. I looked out the window and said to my wife “Honey, look at this, there’s a horse in our yard” Nope, Moose, It’s back was higher than my Pathfinder SUV. It was licking all the road salt off my car.

I have a Marlin 336 in .356 just in case.

Like any predator, though, they are not just mindless killing machine. They can turn off the “killer instinct” when they feel like it. (Which is not often.)

A few years back, I remember seeing a National Geographic article about a photographer who was studying polar bears. He had a dog-sled team for transportation, and he had the dogs tied up at his camp site. A polar bear wandered into the camp and the photgrapher fled. Helplessly, he watched as the bear approached one of the dogs, sure that the dog was about to be eaten. Automatically, he began taking pictures of the scene, as I suppose it’s instinctual for photographers to do.

The dog gave the bear a play-bow, wagging it’s tail. The bear eyed it for a moment, and then began to gently wrestle with the dog. They played short games of chase, the bear staying in close range because the dog was still tied. The photographer got the most adorable photographs you can ever imagine from this scene, a bear happily tussling with a sled dog.

After a while, the bear lost interest and wandered away. The photographer speculated that the bear must have been a juvenile, just starting to get used to life away from its litter-mates, and probably a little lonely. Nevertheless, it was remarkable that the bear played with the dog instead of taking advantage of the free meal.

All very interesting, enipla but if you think you have problems, look at this
link of a a black bear getting to a birdhouse!

Unfortunately, I got the pics posted in backwards order, but you get the idea.

Those are great pictures! I’m amazed the rope was strong enough to take the weight.
Was it a birdhouse or a feeder?

Damn, I’m getting absent-minded. I meant to write that those were not my pics but sent to me by my daughter. Also, you’re right, of course it was a feeder.

But not a bear feeder. :smiley: