Polar Bear Vs Walrus: Who Would Win In A Fight?

Polar Bear Baby - Cub with parent
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Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: March 3, 2023

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The Arctic is an inhospitable part of the world that is home to some of the toughest creatures on the planet. Among them are the polar bear and the walrus. These animals endure food shortages and bitter colds as they try to survive. Sometimes, the nature of the world is such that they have to face off against each other to eke out a living. At least a polar bear would be bold enough to attempt to kill a walrus. What happens in a polar bear vs walrus fight? We’ll show you how it goes down.

Comparing A Polar Bear And A Walrus

Polar bears and walruses are very large animals.
Polar BearWalrus
SizeWeight: 330lbs – 1,300lbs
Height: 3.5ft – 5ft at the shoulder
Length: 6ft – 9.5ft
Weight:  800lbs-3,700lbs
Length: 7.5ft-11.5ft
Speed and Movement Type– 25 mph
– Gallops when sprinting
– 6 mph swimming
– 4-20 mph in the water  
Defenses– Large size
– Growling threat display will frighten animals
– Thick, insulated fur and skin
– Capable of swimming in frigid waters
– Thick skin that measures up to 1.5in
Blubber under the skin can measure up to 4in thick
– Large body makes it incredibly difficult for animals to attack
– Live in large groups that may frighten off predators
Offensive Capabilities– Sharp, curved claws measuring about 4 inches are used to grasp – 42 teeth about 2in long
Powerful, 1,200PSI bite  
2 long tusks up to 30 inches in length that can stab deep into predators
– Massive size buys them time to counterattack
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator for seals, waiting on the ice above their surfacing holes– Opportunistic predators that use their sensitive whiskers to sense food in ocean depths and eat food

What Are Key Differences Between A Polar Bear And A Walrus?

walrus vs elephant seal

Walruses use their tusks to ward off threats from other animals.

The key differences between a polar bear and a walrus are their bodies, size, and aggression. Polar bears are highly aggressive quadrupedal predators that walk on four legs, weigh up to 1,300lbs, stand nearly 5ft tall at the shoulder, and grow 9ft long. Walruses are semi-aggressive, semi-aquatic mammals with long tusks and flippers that weigh over 3,000 lbs and grow up to 11.5ft in length!

These unique qualities will have a great impact on the fight. Yet, we need to elaborate on each animal and compare them to show which of them has the potential to win the fight.

What Are The Key Factors In A Fight Between A Polar Bear And a Walrus?

A walrus is faster and deadlier to predators in the water.

Walruses are animals with a great level of defense against aggressors, but polar bears are some of the most persistent and vicious mammals on the planet. We need to look at how elements of size, attack power, and predatory behavior play a role in this fight. Those key factors and others will ultimately determine the outcome of this battle.

Polar Bear Vs Walrus: Size

Walruses are larger than polar bears by a fair amount. A walrus can weigh up to 3,700 lbs and grow between 7ft and 11.5ft! This is a seriously massive animal! A polar bear usually weighs between 300 lbs and 1,300 lbs, stands up to 5ft at the shoulder, and grows between 6ft and 9ft long. Even the largest polar bear ever recorded only weighed 2,200 lbs!

A walrus has the size advantage over a polar bear.

Polar Bear Vs Walrus: Speed And Movement

Polar bears are faster than walruses on land but slower than them in the water. They can run at 25 mph across the ice but swim at about 6 mph. Walruses are slow on land owing to their large size, but they can reach upwards of 20 mph in the water due to their large, powerful flippers.

Polar bears have the speed advantage on land, but walruses have the benefit in the water.

Polar Bear Vs Walrus: Defenses

Walruses have incredible defenses in the form of tough and thick skin, even thicker blubber below that, and a body so large that most predators simply can’t kill them. Moreover, walruses live in large packs of dozens of hundreds.

Polar bears also have thick fur and skin to protect them, but it’s their large size and aggression that wards off threats. These animals are incredibly dangerous and willing to fight against enemies their size and larger. They’re also very intelligent mammals.

Walruses have better defenses than polar bears, so they get the advantage here.

Polar Bear Vs Walrus: Offensive Capabilities

Polar bears have great offensive powers that include 4-inch-long claws that are used to hold enemies in place as they deliver 1,200 PSI bites to their prey. The polar bear’s teeth are about 2 inches long and sharp enough to shear meat off of their prey’s body.

Walruses don’t have much in the way of offensive capabilities aside from their size and teeth. Their tusks, extra-long canines, are up to 30 inches long and can stab deep into prey. Their size also ensures they can overpower smaller creatures. Still, outside of fighting for superiority in their groups and defending against prey, they aren’t very aggressive animals.

Polar bears have better offensive capabilities.  

Polar Bear Vs Walrus: Predatory Behavior

Walruses tend to feed on creatures deep in the murky waters of the Arctic Ocean. They will slurp up worms, snack on shrimp, and even manipulate water to uncover buried mollusks. However, they’re opportunists rather than ambush or cursorial predators.

Polar bears are hyper-aggressive predators that use ambush predation and opportunism to find food. They must be aggressive because food is often scarce. These intelligent animals will wait on the ice above seal surfacing holes and then grab hold of them as they emerge.

Polar bears are the far better predators of the two.

Who Would Win In A Fight Between A Polar Bear And A Walrus?

Do Bears Have Tails

Polar bears can kill walruses on land, but they would probably lose the fight in the water.

A polar bear would win a fight against a walrus on land, but a walrus would kill the polar bear in the water. Polar bears are highly aggressive, powerful, and smart. They know that their best bet is to attack a weak or small walrus. If they get either of those on land, the fight will be bloody, and the polar bear will likely win.

However, a fully grown polar bear would have a much bigger challenge against a bull walrus. On land, the polar bear would leave its cunning behind and go for a direct attack, biting and clawing the blubbery creature. So long as it’s careful enough to stay away from the tusks, the polar bear would expend a lot of energy biting the animal’s flesh and clawing at it.

The walrus’s thick body would buy it some time to struggle and get away, back to its group. If the walrus gets into deep water, the polar bear will likely give up the hunt or face severe injuries or death. The walrus moves fast in the water propelled by flippers, so it could turn the tables and stick a massive tusk into a polar bear’s body. If it hits a vital organ or artery, it’s over for the bear.

Yet, polar bears are incredibly strong animals. Getting away is not easy, and the walrus would be sacrificing any counterattack. By doing enough damage to the walrus or keeping it in shallow water, the polar bear would make a meal out of the walrus.

The terrain is the ultimate decider in this fight, but the polar bear does have the aggression and tenacity to win against a larger animal.

Other Land Animals That Could Take Down A Polar Bear

Adult polar bears have no natural predators but that doesn’t mean that they are safe from all animals. While they still do face threats from the walrus, there are other larger and more powerful animals that may pose a threat.

  1. The Grizzly Bear. This would be a powerful fight. Both have impressive traits but the grizzly possesses stronger and longer claws than the polar bear and has longer canines, used for separating flesh from bone.
  2. The Siberian Tiger. This tiger is the strongest and largest of all the great cats, weighing on average 660 pounds and a height of 4 feet. Because of their immense power, tigers have the greatest chance of bringing down a polar bear. They know where to bite to bring down their prey.

Other Aquatic Animals That Could Take Down A Walrus

The walrus is a formidable predator and has only two known predators. The killer whale and the polar bear. The walrus may be able to beat the polar bear when it enters the water, but it runs into the Ocean’s top apex predator – the killer whale. While a polar bear may avoid attacking this pinniped for fear of getting injured, a killer whale has no such fear. The Orca has been known to hunt walruses in groups, both in the inshore waters as well as the deep sea.


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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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