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Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear – Key Differences Compared

In a fight for existence, a grizzly bear would most likely be able to overpower a polar bear due to it having bigger claws and greater upper body strength.

The grizzly bear is the second largest carnivore in North America behind only the polar bear. There are times when a mother grizzly will kill another female’s young in order to ensure her own offspring survive.

Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear

Which is the Bigger Bear?

Polar bears are larger than grizzly bears on average, although both species can grow to a similar maximum weight of around 1,700lbs.

Grizzly bears can reach up to 1700 pounds of weight while reaching heights of 3.3 feet. Their length of 6.5 feet is the same for both males and females.

Adult male polar bears typically weigh around 700-1700 pounds (males are about 20% larger than females). They can attain heights of up to 8 feet and lengths of 10 feet.

A polar bear with her cub
The polar bear is the world’s largest carnivore. A mother polar bear will fight viciously to protect her cub.

Black bears tend to avoid contact with humans and will run away or climb a tree if they sense danger, however they can be very protective of food and their cubs when threatened.

However, WWF estimates that more than 50% of cubs are lost before they reach adulthood due to natural conditions, primarily due to starvation or being killed by adult male polar bears looking to mate with their mothers or other female polar bears.

The major difference between the two species is size; polar bears are much larger than grizzly bears, making them more difficult to stop with claws and teeth. 

If both animals were equal in weight, then the polar bear would most likely win due to its thick layer of fat that acts as an extra form of protection against injury.

Which Bear is Stronger?

The grizzly bear has a bit more upper body strength than the polar bear. A grizzly bear can lift around half of its own weight which is about 500 kg or 1100 lbs.

Polar bears have been recorded at lifting nearly 500 lbs. Polar bears are much larger than grizzlies.

Polar bears do not use their size to their advantage when it comes to hunting because most large prey items are simply too fast for them to capture without using cunning rather than force.

Which Bear is the Better Hunter?

A grizzly bear uses a very similar hunting strategy to that of a polar bear, though the polar bear is usually a more successful hunter due to their camouflage and excellent swimming ability.

It hunts by running down its prey and mauling it until the animal stops moving.

The occasional endurance feat can be usually seen when chasing caribou or moose for up to five hours through mountainous terrain.

Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear Speed?

Grizzly bears have been known to reach speeds of 30 miles per hour, whereas polar bears can run at up to 25 miles per hour. Although grizzlies are faster on land, polar bears are faster in water and use this to their advantage when hunting.

In a straight race from a dead stop, the polar bear would be at a disadvantage. Grizzly bears are considered to be one of the fastest land animals.

The speed of a running grizzly bear combined with its large size and weight makes it a dangerous competitor to go against.

Brown Bear Snoozing
Grizzly bears can run at up to 30 miles per hour… when they want to!

Which Bear has Bigger Teeth?

Grizzly bears have the most powerful bite of any North American land mammal with a bite force of 1,200 lbs. They can bite through a large moose femur, although this is surpassed by the African lion and white shark.

The Grizzly bear has massive jaws and teeth that can crush flesh and bone. When hunting for seals or fish, grizzlies knock them onto the ice where they become immobilized then use their immense strength to hold the animal down while devouring it.

The polar bear, on the other hand, has a much lower bite force than that of a grizzly with only 1200 psi.

Polar bears hunt wild prey at times but mostly eat ringed seals which are drowned first before being eaten.

It also sometimes preys on young walrus as well as beluga whales at their breathing holes in sea ice.

Which Bear has Bigger Claws?

Polar bears have extremely strong, long, and sharp claws, however, they are smaller and less powerful than the claws on a grizzly bear.

A grizzly bear’s claws are far more dangerous than the claws on a polar bear.

The grizzly’s claws are also longer than that of the other species, which equals more power when digging into prey or opponent.

Grizzly bear eating with its claws and teeth
Grizzlies use their large claws and teeth to hunt and eat

Which Bear has Thicker Hide?

The polar bear’s skin is twice as thick as the grizzly bears, due to the polar bear having an additional layer of blubber, which is used to store energy and protect the bear from the harsh arctic conditions.

A grizzly bear has an especially thick hide on its neck that could protect it from serious wounds.

The polar bear’s height and long neck give him an advantage over its hide thickness.

However, the grizzly bear has a much thicker neck than the polar bear does which could give him greater protection against attacks than that of his opponent.

Which Bear has more Endurance?

Polar bears are well-known for their endurance, having been recorded swimming for almost 700km (435 miles). Polar bears’ endurance in water vastly exceeds the endurance of any other species of bear due to their thick layer of blubber.

Grizzly bears have been recorded swimming up to 32 miles before tiring. This is impressive endurance, it pales in comparison to polar bears which have been recorded swimming over 400 miles without stopping.

While the polar bear has a much higher endurance level, the grizzly is much faster with bursts of energy that could be to its advantage in a fight.

Grizzly bear with two cubs
Both Grizzlies and Polar bears travel for miles to find food

Which Bear has Better Senses?

The eyesight of a polar bear is not as good when compared to the grizzly; however, it would be able to detect the presence of an approaching polar bear due to its incredible sense of smell.

The sense of smell and hearing of a grizzly bear and polar bear are similar and would be able to hear each other from a distance.

They both would rely on their senses as they hunt, stalk, or wait for prey. 

The important factor in the case of the two bears is that their food source is different from one another.

Conclusion

Though both have strength to their benefit, the battle would definitely go to the grizzly for several reasons.

In terms of size, a polar bear’s larger body will give it an advantage because it could land more powerful blows or swipe at its opponent with effectiveness. But it’s no match for the grizzly’s pure upper body strength.

The claws of a polar bear are significantly shorter than those of a grizzly. A grizzly bear’s claws are longer and sharper, which would be more efficient at cutting through joints or puncturing soft tissue.

Overall, the grizzly bear will most likely win because of its ability to run quicker, and its size to make powerful attacks. 

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