Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and grizzly bear (Ursos arctos) are not only the largest terrestrial carnivorans but they are also close cousins. Polar bear is the largest whereas brown bear is the second largest terrestrial mammal living today. They both resemble in size and strength. Grizzly bears and polar bears are super powerful. They possess the amazing ability to take down prey nearly the size of their own. Grizzlies are also called North American brown bear and scientists never use the word grizzly for brown bears.
While there is virtually no chance that brown bear would meet polar bear people often get confused as to who would win polar bear vs grizzly bear fight.
Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear Evolution
The brown bear seems to have evolved from the Asian subspecies Ursus savini about 800,000 years ago. The oldest fossil discovered in China and it is 500,000 years old. Grizzlies are thought to have occupied the Europe around 250,000 years ago.
Polar bears separated from other carnivorans around 38 million years ago. The oldest fossil discovered in Prince Charles Foreland in 2004 and it is 130,000 – 110,000 years old. The study of fossils suggests that the polar bear’s molar teeth changed drastically from brown bear’s teeth around 10,000 – 20,000 years ago. Before that brown bear and polar bears had the same molar teeth.
Both polar bears and grizzly bears are genetically same species—DNA proves it. They diverged from one another about 400,000 years ago. Even today in captivity polar and brown bear can mate successfully giving rise to pizzly or groalar bear.
Who would Win Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear | Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear Fight
It is reasonable to assume that the virtual match between polar bears and grizzly bear would be quite tough because both are extremely muscular and massive in their body size. While brown bears possess longer claws polar bears have got elongated skull with long canines that can rip off the flesh. The comparison is surely a tough one since both animals are absolutely compatible in their physical characteristics.
Grizzly is more aggressive animal as compared to the polar bears. Polar bears usually avoid fighting and they can even walk away if they see humans but grizzlies will charge against any possible intruder.
Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear Size
The overall length of grizzly bear is about 1.4 to 2.8 m (4 ft 7 in to 9 ft 2 in) and it stands 70 to 153 cm (2 ft 4 in to 5 ft 0 in) at the shoulder. Polar bears measures around 2.4–3 meters (7 ft 10 in–9 ft 10 in) in total length and the shoulder height is estimated at 122 to 160 cm (4 ft 0 in to 5 ft 3 in).
Grizzly bears have relatively longer tail than polar bears. The brown bear’s tail measures around 6 to 22 cm (2.4 to 8.7 in) whereas the polar bear’s tail is the shortest of all bear species measuring 7 to 13 cm (2.8 to 5.1 in) in total length.
The polar bear’s body is rather elongated as compared to that of brown bears. The nose and skull are also longer in white bears and shorter in brown bears.
Brown bears seem to possess larger ears and legs than polar bear’s.
Brown bears also possess longer and sharper claws as compared to their cousins. The polar bear’s claws are used provide a firm grip while walking on the sea ice whereas grizzly bear’s claws are mainly used for digging and killing prey.
Polar bears are remarkable swimmers and they are known to swim for days without stopping. Brown bears lack such ability.
Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear Habitat
Grizzlies are thought to make homes in a wide variety of habitats such as temperate forests, open or semi-open landscapes, coastal estuaries, steppes, meadows, alpine forests, and desert edges. They have the most diverse habitat ranges of all bear species.
The essential characteristics of a polar bear’s habitat are sea ice and water. The reason is that the bear hunts seals on ice floes.
Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear Behavior
Like polar bears grizzlies can also stand on their hind legs. In fact brown bears can also walk a bit but polar bears can’t.
Both species are crepuscular but grizzlies mostly show nocturnal behavior as they prefer to come out at dusk.
Grizzlies have a home range of about 115 km2 (44 sq mi). Polar bears have remote ranges.
Polar bears are not territorial but brown bears actively defend their territories.
In both species males do not take part in raising the cubs.
The typical lifespan of brown bears is about 25 years with one captive individual died at the age of 50 years. Polar bears have also the same average life expectancy.
Grizzlies are omnivorous while polar bears are exclusively carnivores. Grizzly bear eats salmon, sedges, forbs, plants, shoots, grasses, and carrion. Polar bears feed on ringed and bearded seals.