Some people are surprised by how small some animals can be when they see them in the zoo, including bears. It can even make you think about just how large other bears are, and you may find yourself asking questions about the animals you see, like “how much does a polar bear weigh?”
Rather than put yourself in danger by trying to find and weigh a polar bear yourself, we’ve got the answers for you. Read on and you’ll soon see just how massive these Arctic apex predators really are!
How Much Does a Polar Bear Weigh?
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Polar bears are huge both in size and weight. In fact, experts typically agree that they are the largest bear species on the planet.
Fully grown males are frequently measured anywhere between 770 and 1,700 pounds. This is already an impressive number but the heaviest polar bear ever recorded weighed an amazing 2,210 pounds. However, the most common weight is somewhere between 600 and 1,200 pounds.
Adult females are also large and heavy but not as much as their male counterparts. In general, females are about half the weight of a typical male polar bear. This means that a mature female can easily weigh somewhere in the range of 330 to 650 pounds. Furthermore, a female’s weight can increase up to 1,100 pounds or so when she is pregnant.
As far as their length, polar bears are generally between eight and 10 feet in length. That number may seem small, but that still puts them far above other bears in size. It also makes them the largest land predators on the planet.
Considering polar bears, generally, are only born at around 1.5 pounds, this is a pretty large weight gain throughout their lives. This means that, at birth, they often don’t weigh much more than a common gray squirrel. By the time they leave the den after hibernation is over for the first time, they still only weigh around 33 pounds.
This is thought to be because the mother is starving herself during hibernation. By having small babies, the mother doesn’t have to use up as much of her food stores to produce milk and feed them, which makes the chances of survival higher for the babies and the mom.
Additionally, bears can easily weigh 50 percent more right before they hibernate than they would when they come out of hibernation. Most of the weight of polar bears comes from fat. Since they live in very cold conditions, polar bears need a thick layer of fat for insulation. Their fat also gives them stores of energy that their body can use while they are hibernating.
Because they need so much fat, they tend to eat other animals more than anything else. Other bears tend to eat a mixture of fruits and animals like salmon, whereas polar bears mostly eat seals, which are full of fat. They need about 12,000 calories a day to build up fat stores and stay at healthy weights.