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Is a Polar Bear Bigger Than a Grizzly?

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For most of us, our firsthand knowledge about bears is limited or entirely nonexistent, so we often find it hard to comprehend exactly how large bear species are in comparison to one another. This is especially true when it comes to polar bears and grizzlies.

Polar bears are bigger than grizzly bears on average and the polar bear ranks as the largest bear on the planet!

Polar bears and grizzlies may not be the same size, but they are both dangerous and very strong animals. Neither bear should be overlooked or assumed to be harmless, especially in the wild.

Polar bear sitting on the ground near water

Polar bears are not the sweet, cuddly animals that advertising and holiday ornaments lead us to believe.

Understanding the real difference in the size and abilities of polar bears when compared to grizzlies is essential when learning the truth about the wild bears that live in America.

How Big Do Polar Bears Get?

Male polar bears can weigh up to 1,600 pounds at adulthood, while unpregnant females can weigh up to 570 pounds! Polar bears can range from an astounding 5 feet to almost 10 feet long!

Polar bears are the largest living bears in the entire world.

The biggest polar bear known to scientists was a male that weighed 2,209 pounds when killed!

How Big Do Grizzly Bears Get?

Grizzly bears are noticeably smaller than polar bears, with males weighing up to only 800 pounds as adults. Female grizzlies only weigh from 220 to around 500 pounds, depending on the region.

Grizzly bear walks in national park

Most grizzly bears will be an average of 6.50 feet long. That is noticeably shorter than most polar bears.

Rarely, there have been some grizzlies that have weighed up to a shocking 1,500 pounds. These abnormally large grizzly bears could be up to 9.8 feet long.

Which Is Stronger?

Polar bears on average are considered to be stronger than grizzlies.

Polar bears are not only larger than most grizzlies, they also tend to have to work harder for their food and tend to be the more aggressive of the two species.

Polar bears eat mainly seals and other marine life because of the cold climates they live in and often have to fight hard battles for limited amounts of food.

Grizzlies, while extremely strong in their own right, do not have to be nearly as aggressive for their food as often as polar bears. 

Which Is More Dangerous?

two polar bears fighting

While both bears are very dangerous, polar bears are said to be far more dangerous that grizzly bears.

Polar bears tend to not be afraid of humans and are more likely to attack if they see one nearby.

Grizzlies are typically afraid of humans and only attack if cornered or when they are protecting their young. Most grizzly attacks on humans occur when the bear is caught off guard.

Polar bears may even hunt and eat humans if they are starving. Although it is rare, it has happened before.

Do Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears Live in the Same Habitat?

Polar bears and grizzly bears do not typically live in the same habitat, although some grizzlies have occasionally made their way into polar bear areas. Polar bears live in far northern regions of the world including Greenland, Russia, Alaska, Canada, and Norway.

Polar bears like to hunt in and around the sea, so they tend to stay in areas where ice covers the water at least part of the year. They enjoy hunting seals, so they tend to stay where their meals are.

Grizzly bears do not live as far north as polar bears, for the most part. Grizzlies can be found in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Canada, Washington, and Alaska.

Grizzly bears can live off salmon as well as berries, roots, plants, and small animals. They do not depend on ice caps to help with their food, so they do not tend to range as far north as polar bears.  

Do Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears Crossbreed?

Shocking as it is, polar bears and grizzly bears do crossbreed and it is not just something done in captivity. Wild polar bears have mated with grizzly bears when grizzlies make their way into polar bear populated areas.

Over the years, hunters have reported seeing possible polar and grizzly hybrids. DNA testing has confirmed multiple times that crossbreeding between the two different bears is possible.

Mother and baby polar bears on snow field

What Are Polar Bear and Grizzly Crosses Called?

The hybrid cross of a polar bear and a grizzly bear is called either a pizzly, grolar, or a grizzlar bear. It is a rare animal to see, especially in the wild, but many people have encountered them over the past several decades.

Polar-grizzly bear hybrids can have an extremely unique look, often sporting gorgeous silver to champagne-colored fur. Their coat color may even darken in shade towards their paws.

Can Polar-Grizzly Crosses Reproduce?

The hybrid offspring of a polar bear and a grizzly bear is fertile and can reproduce.

This is odd because they are classified as two separate species. However, it has been confirmed numerous times both in captivity and in the wild.

Final Thoughts

Polar bears are considerably larger than grizzly bears on average, there is no disputing that fact. They may be different sizes and tend to live in different regions, but that does not stop them from occasionally crossbreeding. Pizzly bears may not sound like a real thing, but trust me, they are real and their appearance is extremely breathtaking.  


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