Watch a Patient Pair of Polar Bears Use Strategy and Teamwork to Hunt 3000-LB Beluga Whales

by duceditor

Have you ever seen polar bears hunt beluga whales? Now’s your chance.

Polar bears, known for their large size and unique hunting skills, are popular Arctic animals. One fascinating aspect of these animals is their varied hunting strategies. In this video, you’ll see how one bear display great patience, strategically waiting for the perfect moment to strike. While a younger, less experienced bear rushes into things, and ultimately fails.

Follow along to find out what happens in the video below and learn how the tide plays a major role in the bear’s hunting mission.

Polar Bear Hunting Tactics

Full frame of a polar bear's face. The polar bear is with with a black nose and black eyes.Polar bears need at least 4.5 pounds of fat each day to survive.


Polar bears are opportunistic hunters. They can wait by an ice hole for hours or even days until a seal appears. Or, in this case, the polar bear is content to wait on a rock until a beluga whale swims close enough to catch it.

Fat polar bears are fit polar bears. To stay healthy, polar bears need at least 4.5 pounds of fat daily. So catching a 3,000-pound beluga whale will give them more than enough calories to survive. Healthy bears have up to 2 to 4 inches of fat , that serves as an energy storage when food can’t be found. The fat also provides insulation from the freezing temperatures.

Size, Sociality, and Learning

Standing over eight feet tall on their hind legs and weighing up to 1,100 pounds, polar bears are one of the largest land predators. In extreme cases, polar bears can weigh over 1,100 pounds. They’re not just about size, however. Polar bears are social creatures that learn from each other’s hunting techniques.

The eager polar bear in the video can learn a thing or two from the patient bear. Instead of swimming out to the belugas, the patient bear sits on a rock and waits for the tide to come in. When the rock’s surrounded by water, the beluga whales swim close enough for the bear to strike.

Beluga Whale Survival Skills

Beluga whale at public beachBeluga whales can turn their heads side to side and up and down, helping them look out for predators.

©Luna Vandoorne/

Beluga whales have unique survival skills as well. They’re remarkable Arctic dwellers who know something about avoiding hungry polar bears.

These social creatures live, hunt, and move in groups, ranging from a few individuals to several dozen. Adult belugas typically weigh between 1,100 and 2,500 pounds and measure 11 to 15 feet long. Yet despite their large size, these whales can move incredibly fast.

Adaptations and Habitat

Belugas can swim up to 14 miles per hour, especially when attempting to escape predators. Their white skin also provides an advantage, allowing them to blend in with Arctic sea ice. They use this camouflage to protect themselves from predators such as orcas and polar bears. Belugas also adapt to changing seasons, moving to warmer bays as coastal glaciers melt in spring.

Unique Characteristics

Similar to how an owl can turn their head like a swivel, belugas also have an advantage with their necks. While they can’t turn their head 360 degrees, they can turn it side to side and up and down. This is because they have unfused neck vertebrae. Turning their heads in multiple directions provides an advantage when searching for prey in icy conditions. It’s also helpful when looking out for hungry polar bears.

Watch the Video of Polar Bears Hunting

There’s a bunch of belugas swimming around in this wildlife footage. But only one falls prey to the patient polar bear. As for the impatient polar bear? He winds up catching a bit of seaweed. See for yourself in the video below.

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