Thursday, 20 September 2007

Polar Bears Hunt Belugas

Feeling a little uninspired today, I hope you don't mind a repost from March on an amazing topic that few people believe until they see the footage (the most popular source is David Attenborough's Planet Earth).

Polar bears live a feast and famine lifestyle. They are large animals (an adult males weighs 300-600kg) that live in the freezing tundra so they have huge metabolic needs. They normally prey on ringed seals but will eat almost anything they can catch, including walruses, birds, eggs and occasionally they supplement their diet with a big, juicy, beluga whale!

Beluga whales are distinctive for their pale skin and large melon shaped head. These animals can grow up to 5m (16ft) in length and live in large pods, mainly in the Arctic and Canadian Subarctic. Belugas live close to coastlines and in winter they occasionally become trapped in savsatts, small openings in ice packs. Belugas can find themselves the victims of shrinking savsatts, which they use to breath. Each animal will take a turn coming up for air and in the worst of winter, their movement is all that keeps the savsatt open.

Hence an opportunity that a wandering polar bear may chance by and certainly one he can’t resist. The bear will jump in the water, clubbing the trapped whale with his paw and gorging it with his claws. It may take several attempts but the bear usually succeeds in his catch and drags the whale’s carcass on to the ice for a feast. Other polar bears will share in the prize and any leftover kill will be happily devoured by scavenging arctic foxes and gulls.

If you find this post interesting I encourage you to also check out Darren Naish’s very cool post on Wolf-Hunting Eagles

More information can be found at Polar Bears International.


Sordes said...

I have also once seen in a documentation how belugas became completely surrounded by ice, and later killed by polar bears. This was really amazing, given alone the fact that the bears managed to pull this huge carcasses out of the water.

Traumador said...

Wow it makes sense, but I'd never have thought a Polar Bear could managed to actually catch a Beluga. A breathing hole in the dead of winter makes sense.

Just discovered your blog. It's awesome!


Gufo said...

Seen the documentary (was it Planet Earth? or was it Blue Planet?) some weeks ago on the Beeb. Impressive... Now I almost agree with Jeremy Clarkson about polar bears (no, just kidding. He's funny but also an a**...

wholesale said...
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