Fact Check: Are Polar Bears In Antarctica?

are polar bears in antarctica

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Polar bears are the largest land carnivores that roam the earth. They are beautiful bears but don’t let looks deceive you, they are also incredibly dangerous to humans and are not afraid of us whatsoever.

The good news is that you’ll likely never run into a polar bear in the wild as they are found only in the most remote regions of the world.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the polar bears’ habitat and specifically answer are polar bears in Antarctica?

No, polar bears are not found in Antarctica. Despite the Arctic and Antarctica having similar habitats in many ways, polar bears stick to the Arctic in the north largely because of evolution, climate, and location.

Do Polar Bears Live In Antarctica?

Whilst the Arctic and Antarctica are similar in ways, they are home to very different animals. Antarctica is home to a variety of whale and seal species, as well as penguins and other sea birds.

But the largest bear on earth only resides around the Arctic circle, in the likes of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Noway, Russia, and sometimes Iceland.

Antarctica means “no bears”, which is great news for many explorers looking to visit the region.

Polar bears are some of the most deadly animals on earth, and running into one can mean fighting for your life.

Why Are There No Polar Bears In Antarctica?

The main reason why there are no polar bears in Antarctica is evolution. From an evolutionary standpoint, polar bears are a relatively young species.

Bears are largely a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon” according to Andrew Derocher who is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta, Canada who has studied polar bears for 40 years.

Aside from the Andean bear of South America, bears only appear in the Northern Hemisphere. There is no real reason for this, just that some bears evolve in some places and others don’t.

For polar bears, there was never a time in history when the North and South poles were connected through either ice or land, so the bears never made it there.

This means that polar bears never got the opportunity to travel to Antarctica, but the saddest of all is that if they did make it there they would likely thrive.

Antarctica is home to a variety of seals, penguins, sea birds, and whales that the polar bears would feed on.

Many species all around the globe travel to Antarctica to feed every single year as it is incredibly abundant with life.

The Antarctica landscape would essentially be a free-for-all buffer for polar bears, they would have so much to choose from that they would likely lead to an ecological collapse, which is why they should never be brought there.

Antarctica Is Isolated

Antarctica is one of the most isolated places on earth, so venturing these from the North pole for a polar bear would be near impossible.

Many bear species have spread across the world by using short ocean crossings or land bridges, but Antarctica has been separated from other continents by the Southern ocean for around 45 million years.

Whilst polar bears are exceptional swimmers, to cross this distance and arrive safely would be incredibly difficult, and migrating would be almost certainly death.

Polar bears would need to cross the Drage Passage which is a notoriously dangerous part of traveling to Antarctica that is known for dangerous storms and freak weather.

Are There Polar Bears At The North Pole?

Polar bears do make the occasional trip to the North pole in the middle of the Arctic ocean every now and again in search of food.

However, the closest land to the North pole is over 800km (497 miles) away, and polar bears rely heavily on the ice to travel.

This means that exactly how far polar bears can roam from land depends on how much stable sea ice there is and how many seals there are for them to hunt.

Polar bears can swim amazing distances, even 30 miles at a time regularly before they need to rest, but as the sea ice cover changes over time so does the polar bears’ location as their access is limited.

Final Thoughts

Are polar bears in Antarctica? No, polar bears are found only in the Northern Arctic regions and are not found in Antarctica.

These stunning bears roam the Arctic regions in search of food. They use the icecaps and wait for seals to surface to their breathing holes before striking.

However, only around 2% of polar bear hunts end in success. As the ice caps melt through global warming, it becomes increasingly difficult for polar bears to hunt in their habitats.

This means that they are becoming more desperate and having to stay on land much longer, meaning they are coming into contact with humans more.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you now know why there are no polar bears in Antarctica.