5 Animals Fierce Enough to Kill a Polar Bear

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: February 23, 2024
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There’s a saying about what humans should do when they encounter bears. If it’s black, fight back. if it’s brown, lie down. If it’s white, goodnight. Polar bears are often considered the most dangerous type of bears due to their size, power, and disposition. While they are apex predators in their range, polar bears are not the most dangerous animal on the planet. Today, we’re going to look at 5 animals fierce enough to kill a polar bear.

We will show you what creatures could successfully kill a polar bear either on water or on the land. After all, polar bears spend a lot of time swimming, leaving them open to attacks in the water. Keep in mind that these fights are all hypothetical. Many of these creatures would never meet a polar bear in the wild. Still, when you’re dealing with a mammal this deadly, it’s worth considering foes from everywhere.

1. Orca

orca whale

Killer whales are large, powerful, and smart enough to kill a polar bear.


Orcas, also called killer whales, would certainly be able to kill a polar bear. Although this fight could only take place in the water, polar bears spend a fair amount of their lives swimming. So, this fight could happen in the wild under the right circumstances.

These massive creatures can weigh anywhere from 6,000 to 15,000 pounds, so they would come into the fight with a major weight advantage. Obviously, orcas swim better than polar bears, so they would have no trouble catching the smaller mammals.

An orca would probably kill a polar bear by biting its underside with 3-inch-long teeth while it was swimming. Otherwise, it could smash the bear with its powerful tail, ending the fight in short order. There is not much a polar bear could do to survive such an onslaught.  

2. Elephant

Chasing Elephant in the Masai Mara

An elephant could use its size and strength to its advantage while killing the polar bear.

©Guenter Guni/iStock via Getty Images

Although they can look docile, elephants can fend off attacks from some of the deadliest animals in their range. Their size and power are enough to knock down, trample, and even gore their foes with tusks.

Elephants can grow up to 12 feet tall and weigh between 6,000 and 12,000 pounds. They are several times larger than the largest polar bear. Moreover, the polar bear would not have any real means of landing a killing blow on an elephant. The only way these two animals would ever meet is if there was a mass escape at a zoo or some other ridiculous circumstances.

3. Great White Shark

OCEARCH can track tagged sharks when the cruise at the surface.

Great white sharks

are deadly predators, and they would make a meal out of bear.

©iStock.com/Martin Heyn

Polar bears spend a fair amount of time in the water. As sea ice continues to melt, they’re spending more time in the ocean. Currently, polar bears swim can for days at a time. While great white sharks do not swim into the polar bear’s range, they could make a meal of a polar bear in the water.

These sharks can get quite large, growing upwards of 20 feet long and weighing over 2,500 pounds. They are equipped with everything they need to take down large prey. While a polar bear is no slouch when it comes to fighting, they’re much more adept at battling on land. In the water, the shark would attack from below, delivering a powerful, potentially fatal chomp to start the fight. Again, this fight wouldn’t happen in the wild.  

4. Hippo

Aggressive hippo male attacking the car. Huge hippo male intimidating the opponent. Wild animal in the nature habitat. African wildlife. This is Africa. Hippopotamus amphibius.

An enraged hippo is a danger to many animals on land and in the water.


While they may look silly or cute when they’re small, an adult hippo is an incredibly dangerous animal. Hippos kill roughly 500 humans per year. They’ll attack humans on watercraft, crocodiles, and most other creatures that vex them. Their thick bodies, long teeth, and power ensure that few animals can take them down.

At their largest, hippos can be over 9,000 pounds and about 16 feet long. They’re enormous compared to a polar bear. Not only would a polar bear be outmatched in terms of offensive capabilities, but its defenses are also nothing compared to a hippo’s. Also, they could fight the bear on land and in the water. So, a hippo is certainly one of the animals fierce enough to kill a polar bear.

5. Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater crocodile on shore

Large salties are hard to fend off because of their immense bite force.


Saltwater crocodiles are large reptiles with incredibly powerful bites. These animals don’t live anywhere near polar bears. However, they could likely kill a polar bear in the water. The largest saltwater crocodile ever recorded weighed about 2,400 pounds and measured over 20 feet long.

A large saltwater crocodile could land a devastating ambush attack on the bear, clamping down on a limb or the bear’s head. Outside of the water, though, the crocodile probably wouldn’t have a good chance of winning the bout.  

Some other animals may stand a chance against the polar bear, but it would rely on more dubious circumstances than the animals listed above. A large tiger striking from an ambush might stand a chance, for example. Humans are probably the most dangerous creatures to polar bears, though.

While an unarmed human stands no chance against a polar bear, human activities have resulted in polar ice melting. Polar bears are losing the sea ice they call home, driving them toward land where they face new challenges to their survival. Sometimes, these animals get so desperate for food that they turn to hunting humans. Polar bear attacks are not common, but as more polar bears share the land with humans, more conflicts are bound to arise.

Summary of Animals Fierce Enough to Kill a Polar Bear

3.Great White Shark
5.Saltwater Crocodile

The photo featured at the top of this post is © INTERTOURIST/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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