Home Characteristics Female Polar Bear | Size, Weight, Denning Behavior, Affection  

Female Polar Bear | Size, Weight, Denning Behavior, Affection  

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Female Polar Bear | Size, Weight, Denning Behavior, Affection  

A female polar bear is less than half the size of a male polar bear. She is also much less in weight as compared to their mating partners. A female bear attains maturity in just 4 – 5 years but if the food is abundant she becomes mature in 3 years. Every spring she enters into hibernation sort of state (dormancy) and remains inactive in her den. This is a period of pregnancy and she leaves the den only after the cubs are able to run along with her. The female polar bear is thought to be highly devoted and dedicated mother as she continues to nurse her cubs for as long as 1 – 2 years.

What is a Female Polar Bear Called?

A female polar bear is called sow. Sow remains inactive for almost half of the year. She spends these inactive hours in her den.

How much does a Female Polar Bear Weigh? | Female Polar Bear Weight

Adult females weigh no more than 150 – 250 kg (331–551 lb) with the overall length measuring up to 1.8–2.4 meters (5 ft 11 in–7 ft 10 in). The maximum weight ever recorded in adult females is about 260 kg (573 lb). During pregnancy when they are about to enter den they weigh as much as 500 kg (1,102 lb).

Soon after mating the sows will eat large amount of food in order to store fat reserves. These fat reserves are pretty useful during dormancy. During these days sows put so much weight that they become compatible with adult males.

Denning Behavior

A sow is adaptable to survive many weeks in starvation especially during late summer and early fall. During warmer months when the ice floes break up sows begin to dig maternity dens in which they are going to spend the next four months in hibernation. The den consists of 3 to 4 chambers with a narrow opening. They preferably make dens in drift snows but if the snow is not thick enough the dens may be shifted underground. The underground dens are usually made 2 – 3 kilometers from the coast.

female polar bear
A Female polar bear nursing her cubs. Chelsea Tischler — National Geographic Your Shot

Hunting Seals

She prefers to hunt young bearded or ringed seals because the adult seals are too large to be handled by sow alone. Only mature boars are strong enough to take down adult seals.

How Do Female Polar Bears Communicate with their Young?

When adult females want to communicate to their young they produce a couple of sounds such as chuffs and moans. However the distress or a mayday call consists of bleats. She utters huffs or snorts or growls when she feels threatened or nervous.

Female bears will communicate with adult males by leaving their scents behind so that males follow the track. The verbal communication and chemical composition go side by side in bears.

Affection with her Cubs

Sows are one of the most affectionate mothers in the carnivorous mammals. They never leave the cubs unattended. Many a times it happens that a female polar bear adopts a wild cub and a cub becomes the permanent member of her family unit. She actively guards her cubs against any potential predator including mature bears. The boars are known to kill cubs and sometimes eat them when they are hungry.

Female Polar Bear Lifespan

The maximum lifespan of a female polar bear is 43 years which is of a captive specimen that died in 1991.

Female Polar Bear – Video