Understanding the Communication of the Polar Bear
On Polar Bear tours you will see the bears behaving in different ways. To understand how Polar Bears communicate and socialise, read on.
The best bear tours to the Polar region are accompanied expert naturalist guides, who know the area and are familiar with the behaviour of the magnificent Polar Bears. When on one of the dedicated bear tours, you will spend lots of time observing this behaviour for yourself, so it is a good idea to have at least some knowledge of what different behaviours mean and how to interpret the actions of the animals. Here are some interesting facts about how these animals communicate and socialise.
Understanding their Social Life
Polar Bears are not territorial like other species of bear, but instead roam home ranges that vary in size and often overlap each other. Many people believe they are aggressive, but this is not strictly true. Of course they will fight to protect cubs, if they feel threatened, or if they are protecting a kill, but otherwise, they will avoid confrontation and run rather than fight.
Polar Bears live alone, and while they do take care of their young and come together with a mate for breeding, they are essentially solitary creatures. The female will, however, nurture the cubs for two to three years and defend them with her life. A female will only mate every three years, so that leaves more males than females during the mating season. This can lead to very aggressive fights amongst the adult males, and may even end in death for one.
Females normally have two cubs at a time, and there is lots of playing and interacting while they grow and learn how to fight and hunt. For much of the day, they are resting or sleeping, and when they are not lying still they are usually hunting. They hunt either by simply sitting and waiting, or by swimming or walking long distances to reach a food source.
The animals can be very communicative and are often quite vocal - you will hear a range of different sounds from the animals while on bear tours. They have different sounds for relaying messages to their young, protecting themselves, and during mating. Purring, growling and hissing are common sounds, as well as a chuffing noise that is often heard when the mother greets its cubs. Young cubs are noisier than their parents, as they spend a lot of time playing and interacting with their siblings. They are very curious and will often rumble or whimper in an attempt to get noticed.
Specialised Polar bear tours will enable you to get up close and personal with these wonderful wild creatures within their natural habitat. Having even a small insight into their behaviour patterns can enrich your experience all the more.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for bear tours, Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.