Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) are two different species not only in their diet, habitat, and distribution but also in their behavior. The only common trait between the two predators is their size. They are almost of the same size. Some scientists believe that polar bears are the largest land mammals living today others say that Kodiak bears supersede white bears in size. Either way both animals have long fascinated biologists for their super strength and ability to take down prey nearly the size of their own.
Kodiak Bear vs Polar Bear Size Comparison
Let us first study the size of Kodiak bear and a polar bear.
Kodiak Bear Size
Kodiak bears are the largest subspecies of brown bears. They had the skull size of about 78.1 cm (30.7 in).
Adult Kodiak males weigh as much as 477–534 kg (1,052–1,177 lb) with the average weight of about 272 to 635 kg (600 to 1,400 lb). Mature males attain maximum weight of 680 kg (1,500 lb).
Females range from 181 to 318 kg (399 to 701 lb) in weight. Like polar bears Kodiak females are 25% smaller than males.
The average length in mature males is around 244 cm (8 ft 0 in) and the shoulder height is 133 cm (4 ft 4 in). Larger specimen is able to stand 1.5 m (4.9 ft) at the shoulder when it rests on four legs. However when the bear stands on her hind legs the height reaches up to 3 m (9.8 ft).
Polar Bear Size
Adult polar bear males weigh up to 350–700 kg (772–1,543 lb) with the total length measuring around 2.4–3 metres (7 ft 10 in–9 ft 10 in).
Read More: How Tall is a Polar Bear Standing Up?
Mature females average 150 – 250 kg (331–551 lb) in weight. She had a total length of 1.8–2.4 metres (5 ft 11 in–7 ft 10 in). They can attain the maximum weight of 500 kg (1,102 lb) during pregnancy.
Males stand 122 to 160 cm (4 ft 0 in to 5 ft 3 in) at the shoulder height.
Largest Kodiak Bear ever Recorded
The largest wild Kodiak bear ever recorded weighs up to 751 kg (1,656 lb). This is the size of an adult male. It had the hind foot measured around 46 cm (18 in).
The largest captive Kodiak bear ever recorded in Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, North Dakota. The bear weighed as much as 966 kg (2,130 lb) and it had a nickname The bear died in 1987.
Largest Polar Bear ever Recorded
The largest polar bear ever recorded at 1,002 kg (2,209 lb). The bear was shot in Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska in 1960. It could reach the height of 3.39 m (11 ft 1 in) while standing on hind legs.
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Color
Kodiak bear are typically known for their blonde to orange hair color. The cubs have white ring around their neck which is quite visible in their initial years after birth. Polar bears have white hollow hair but the color of the coat turns yellowish during summer. Unlike Kodiak species white bears have black skin.
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Habitat & Distribution
The Kodiak brown bear occurs on the Kodiak Archipelago islands including Raspberry, Kodiak, Shuyak, Uganik, and Afognak islands. Polar bears inhabit the Arctic Circle as well as neighboring islands including Newfoundland but they are virtually dissimilar from Kodiak bears in their habitat and distribution.
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Population
The estimated population of Kodiak brown bears is just over 3,500 but the Endangered Species Act not yet listed it as endangered species. Polar bears on the other hand are far greater in numbers than the Kodiak species. There are more than 20,000 white bears living today.
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Reproductive Behavior
Both Kodiak bear and polar bear seem to show different behavioral traits in reproduction. The Kodiak bear female (sows) will reach the sexual maturity at 8 – 10 years age whereas the polar bear female begins to breed in 4 – 5 years.
The mating and courtship season is nearly the same in both species. Kodiak bear mates in April to May while white bears in May to June.
The average lifespan of both species is 20 years in the wild. The oldest Kodiak male bear died at 34 years age and the oldest polar bear died at 32 years age.
Polar bears are polygynous in that the male is likely to mate with multiple females at a time. However each female polar bear will only mate with one male. The couple remains connected for a week. On the other hand Kodiak bears are seriously monogamous species. The male remains faithful to her female partner all her life which is probably one of the reasons as to why they have fewer numbers.
Polar bear cubs and Kodiak bear cubs are born blind and helpless in dens. They are born in January or February. Both seem to give birth to 2 – 3 cubs. Polar cubs stay with their mother for 2 years whereas Kodiak cubs for 3 years.
Read More: Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Lifespan
The average lifespan of both species is 20 years in the wild. The oldest Kodiak male bear died at 34 years age and the oldest polar bear died at 32 years age. The mortality rate is extremely high in the first two years of their birth.
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Behavior
- While polar bears make dens on the sea ice Kodiak bears typically dens in the hill sides or mountains. Polar bears have one of the largest ranges of about 465,000 sq. kilometers. Kodiak brown bears have one of the smallest ranges of about 50 sq. mi (130 km2).
- Like polar bears Kodiak bears also do not defend territories.
- Kodiak bears are primarily diurnal like most other bears but they have become nocturnal due to the competition of food during the day. Polar bears become naturally active during the day.
- Both are solitary in nature and they only meet during the mating season.
- Polar bears are outstanding swimmers but Kodiak bears are not.
- Kodiak and polar bears will avoid humans if possible. However a hungry polar bear will look at humans as a potential food source especially in summer when the food is scarce.
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Feeding Habits
Unlike polar bears Kodiak bears feed exclusively on salmon fish and also supplements her diet with a variety of vegetation. White bears are pure carnivores—in fact the most carnivorous of all bear species. While Kodiak bears rely on salmon fish polar bears rely on seals for their consumption.
Kodiak vs Polar Bear Conservation Status
Although fewer than 4,000 Kodiak bears are remaining in the wild yet they are not listed as endangered species. Polar bears are threatened in some of its isolated population but certainly not endangered.