Watch This Massive Polar Bear Charge a Snowmobile That Invades Its Territory

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 7, 2023

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Apex predator: Polar Bear
© Vaclav Sebek/

Key Points

  • Polar bears are carnivores. They only have access to meat foods in their polar environment.
  • Polar bears spend so much time in the water that they are classified as marine mammals.
  • Only about 2 percent of polar bear hunts end in success. They go to bed hungry often.

The people on the snowmobile may not have meant this polar bear any harm but it didn’t know that! As far as this bear was concerned, there was a very strange object in its habitat that it found threatening. No wonder it wanted the snowmobile to leave. Watch the full footage of a polar bear taking exception to a human’s presence.

Do Polar Bears Attack Humans?

Yes, but attacks are very rare. The official figures have recorded 73 confirmed polar bear attacks between 1870-2014 which caused the deaths of 20 people and injured a further 63 individuals. The frequency of attacks, however, seems to be increasing. A staggering 20 percent of these attacks took place between 2010 and 2014!

This may be partly due to better recording and data sharing but there still seems to be a significant increase in frequency.

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Polar Bear with just caught dead seal

Polar bears are often found around carcasses of dead animals.

© stock

Experts are concerned that there is a correlation between sea ice loss and human-polar bear encounters some of which resulted in injuries to humans. This theory is supported by the fact that 61% of attacks were attributed to bears in below-average conditions. It is thought that nutritionally stressed adult males are a particular threat to human safety.

How to Avoid Polar Bear Attacks

Two polar bears (Ursus maritimus) playing together on ice and snow in Churchill, Manitoba.

There are additional guides that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued for the best ways to avoid polar bear attacks.


The US Fish and Wildlife Service has issued guidelines on how to avoid attacks by polar bears. The advice for people traveling on land or sea ice is to always be prepared to encounter a polar bear. Places where you are most likely to find them are on barrier islands, along bluff habitats or ice leads/polynyas, and in river drainages. However, they are also likely to be found near animal carcasses so avoiding these areas will help. Learn how to recognize fresh tracks because they mean that a bear is nearby.

Is it Normal for Polar Bears to Hibernate?

Polar bear with cub

A polar bear digs a den and has her babies inside during the middle of winter.


Polar bears do not hibernate in a cave like other species of bears. Instead, they go into denning during the winter months or when food is scarce and the weather is cold. Inside the den is where they have their babies, usually in December. Winter is a very active time for polar bears. They spend many hours roaming the ice in the darkness searching for food. Polar bears have a much harder time surviving the winter season than other types of bears due to the extreme Arctic climate.

During the summer months, polar bears may come ashore and spend time on land. They usually stay close to the shoreline in search of food such as seals or scavenging for carrion. Polar bears can also be found resting during warm days in between meals, especially cubs that require lots of rest after nursing from their mothers.

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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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