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What is the difference between Polar Bears and Black Bears ?

Updated on March 22, 2019
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Bears are generally omnivorous mammals. They eat both meat and plants. They are warm blooded and their body is covered in hair.
Bears can be seen in a wide variety of colors. They are mostly brown, black, or white colored. They are found in many different colors, shapes and sizes all over the world. Their senses of sight and hearing is weak but their sense to smell is very strong, which they use for hunting. There are about eight different species of bears. Some bears are good climbers whereas all the bears can swim easily. But the most common types of bears are Polar Bears and Black Bears.

What are Polar Bears and Black Bears ?

Polar bears are considered as the largest land carnivores in the world. They are marine mammals and mostly found near Arctic Sea ice. They are adapted to live in cold regions. They are excellent swimmers because of their large and flat front feet. Their skin is black in color to absorb heat. But fur appears white to blend in with their environment.

Black bears are omnivores. They are skilled tree climbers. The American black bear is the world’s most common bear species. Black bear live in largely forested areas. They have short, non-retractable claws which makes them skilled tree climbers. Black bears have a black colored fur.

What are the differences between them ?

Habitat : Polar bears are only found in the Arctic. They cannot live in hot regions. They are adapted to live in cold regions like Arctic Sea. When ice melts in such regions, they may migrate in search of food. Black bears live in mountainous and forested areas. They are mostly found in North America, from Canada to Mexico. In North America, they historically occupied nearly all of the forested regions and in Mexico, they have inhabited in mountainous regions.

Diet : Polar bears are great hunters. They mostly eat ringed seals and bearded seals. But they are also known to eat large animals like walrus and beluga whales. But seals are their favourite food. Black bears eat plants, fruits, nuts, salmon, honey, small mammals and spawning salmon. Sometimes they hunt young deer and catch fishes from water sources.

Size : Polar bears (males) can have a weight around 680 kg and can be 2.5m long. They have 30cm wide paws. Black bears (males) weight around 68-158 kg and can be 6 to 9 metres long at shoulders.

Life Span : Life span of Polar bears is 20-25 years whereas average life span of Black bears is around 10 years, though they can live upward of 30 years in wild.

Speed : Polar bears can swim at a speed of 10 kph whereas Black bears are good runners and can run at a speed of 40-50 kph.

Population : The World Conservation Union (IUCN), estimated that the population of Polar bears worldwide is about 20,000-25,000 whereas Black bears have a large population. There are about 600,000 black bears in North America. In the United States alone 300,000 black bears lie.


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