Polar bears are greedy animals but they know what they must eat in order to survive in the arctic. In seals bears eat the fatty part which is blubber. The polar bear’s stomach is large enough to hold up to 50 – 90 kilograms of meal in one time. They are known to consume 10 kilograms of blubber in less than 30 minutes. In Russia, a captive female bear ate up to 80 kg of sea blubber in one-half of a day.
How Much Do Polar Bears Eat a Day?
It’s not every day that polar bears find animals they need to eat. Bears must rely on small animals if they couldn’t find one of their favorite meals (seals). In the harsh Arctic environment it is reasonable to assume that bears spend several weeks in starvation because the weather keeps changing and the prey keeps moving and so as the bear. White bears supplement their food source with reindeer, waterfowl, muskox, kelp, berries, and small rodents.
Read More: Do Polar Bears eat Penguins?
When polar bears prey seals they eat a lot. An adult bear eats as much as 20% of its body weight. The adult polar bear weighs up to 500 pounds. As per calculations, she will consume 100 pounds of meat in a single sitting. Bearded seals have thick dense skin. The bear tears its skin and eat the blubber first because it is a high-calorie food source. Subadults need more proteins in their diet which they get by killing seal pups.
How Much Seals Do Polar Bears Eat a Year?
No wonder it’s a mammoth task to observe the bear’s diet each year. There is no absolute estimate for the number of seals a polar bear kill a year probably because the bear’s home range is too wide to cover. Scientists have studied the dietary behavior of polar bears in the Canadian High Arctic and Devon Island.
The polar bear’s stomach is large enough to hold up to 50 – 90 kilograms of meal in one time. They are known to consume 10 kilograms of blubber in less than 30 minutes.
They studied the behavior from early April to early August when much of sea ice disappears. It means that biologists have not been able to know the precise behavior of polar bears for nearly 68 – 70% of the year. The Canadian High Arctic remains in darkness for the rest of the months. Besides, the polar bear’s habitat is extremely remote—making it impossible for scientists to observe the animal’s predatory behavior.
Read More: What Seals Do Polar Bears Eat?
While polar bears are not lucky enough to find seal every day they do manage to hunt a single seal in 2 – 16 days especially in the peak hunting season. According to an estimate on in every five seals are ringed seals. The success rate in hunting is also not too bad. The peak hunting months of polar bears begin in March and ends on June. During these months polar bears store as much energy as they possibly can to use it in hibernation period. The ideal seal-hunting months are called hyperphagic period—a phase when icy bears eat seals inasmuch as possible.
According to an estimate, an individual polar bear consumes 43 seals let alone ringed seals a year. Biologists also calculated that 1,800 to 2,000 polar bears will require 77,400 to 128,469 seals annually. This clearly suggests that seals are the primary and dominant component of polar bear’s diet. Similarly if there are 30,000 polar bears living in the Arctic they are going to eat 1,500,000 seals in a single year.