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7 Facts About Polar Bear Height

by Martha Simmonds

Most people find it hard to visualize the real size of a bear, as, thankfully, encounters are rather rare. But, spoiler alert, they are not the small and cuddly characters you’ve seen in Coca Cola ads. In fact, quite the contrary, they are humongous hypercarnivores — far from cute and harmless. Here I have compiled seven facts about polar bear height; if you’re curious to learn more, keep reading.

How Do You Work out Their Height?

Firstly, I’d like to clarify that there are two ways an animal’s height is measured. You can either see how tall it is when it stands on its hind legs, or you can measure its shoulder height when it’s on four legs. The latter is, by the way, the proper way to do it if you need the most accurate data.

The following information presents data from both measurements to provide a more detailed view.

Polar Bear Height Facts

1. The Largest Bears

Polar bears are the largest species of bears on Earth. In fact, the Kodiak bear (a subspecies of brown bear) is the only other bear similar in size.

2. Average Length

Their length averages between 5’11” and 9’10” (1.8 and 3 meters).

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, too. The largest polar bear on record was a male shot in Alaska in 1960. It reportedly weighed 2209 lb (1002 kg), and when mounted stood at an impressive 11’1” (3.39 m).

3. Male Polar Bears

Normally, male polar bears are around 7’10” to 9’10” (2.4 to 3 meters) in total length.

4. Female Polar Bears

Adult females are approximately half the size of males and measure 5’11” to 7’10” (1.8 to 2.4 meters).

5. Shoulder Height

The shoulder height of a polar bear standing on four feet is 4’ to 5’3” (122 to 160 cm).

6. Standing on Hind Legs

Interestingly enough, polar bears can stand on their back legs. They do this because their massive height (which can exceed 10’) allows them to see at great distances.

Female bears sometimes stand on their hind legs to check if there are any male bears approaching. This is part of their maternal instinct, as male polar bears usually kill and eat the cubs.

7. Elongated Body

Compared to the brown bear — its closest relative, the polar bear’s body is more elongated. In addition, its feet are very large (12”, or 30 cm), which allows for better load distribution when walking on thin ice or snow. They also provide better propulsion for swimming.

The Takeaway

Equipped with two coats of fur and a thick layer of fat, polar bears survive in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Their large size is just another means of adaptation to the environment that helps them catch prey and withstand the dangers of their habitat.

While encounters are rare, hungry polar bears tend to be extremely unpredictable and fearless towards people. Unfortunately, due to the size difference, bear attacks are almost always fatal.

I hope that after reading this article, you have acquired enough knowledge about polar bear height to satisfy your curiosity and impress your friends.

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