Watch an Epic Artic Battle: Reindeer vs Polar Bear

Polar Bear with just caught dead seal
© stock

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: October 21, 2023

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This is striking footage for many reasons and will give you something to think about! According to the video notes, it was taken by a team of Polish scientists and was shot in Svalbard which is in the Norwegian part of the Arctic. They claim that this was the first time that this type of incident has been captured on film. It was taken in August 2021 and it may suggest that polar bears are having to adapt to changes in habitat. They may now be hunting terrestrial animals such as reindeer more often because their usual prey, which are seals, are in short supply.

Don’t Miss This Unfortunate Encounter in the Video Below

Reindeer vs Polar Bear

We see a reindeer swimming across a body of water with small pieces of floating ice. Directly behind it, we see a polar bear gradually catching up. There is a struggle in the water as the reindeer attempts to break free. It is clearly not successful because the footage cuts to the polar bear dragging the reindeer ashore – which is not easy because the reindeer is a large animal. And there are sharp antlers that need to be avoided!

Eventually, the polar bear manages to get the reindeer onto the shore – and the meal can start.

12 Animals of Christmas From Around the World - polar bear

Polar bears hunt on land and in the water

©Vaclav Sebek/

All About Polar Bears

Polar bears live on the ice fields of the Arctic Ocean so they literally spend most of their lives floating on the sea. If global warming causes the ice fields to melt and reduce in size, their habitats will reduce in size. They are one of the largest species of bear on earth and adults can reach around over 1,300 pounds.

They are very strong swimmers and have been spotted a hundred miles away from the closest ice sheet. They can swim at about 6 mph and it is not unusual for them to hunt at sea. Polar bears are carnivores and their main source of nutrition is the blubber and skin of seals. In fact, they can leave much of the meat for other animals to feed on. However, when food is scarce, they will turn to other sources. This can include birds and, as we see here, reindeer.

Polar bears are large and powerful predators and are capable of hunting reindeer both on land and as we see here, in the water. However, they are more comfortable actually eating their meal when they don’t have to swim at the same time!

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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