HomeOutdoorsViralPolar Bears vs Beluga Whales Requires Unbelievable Patience: WATCH

Polar Bears vs Beluga Whales Requires Unbelievable Patience: WATCH

by Jon D. B.
polar bear vs beluga whale
Beluga whale (Photo by Olivier MORIN / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER MORIN/AFP via Getty Images). Polar bear Photo by Meng Jing/Xinhua via Getty Images).

As thousands of beluga whales arrive to Canadian shores, two gigantic polar bears are eager to hunt – and dine. Will they succeed?

Atop a carefully chosen rock, one polar bear bides his time. There, he watches as the beluga whales make their way towards land. His counterpart seems more confident, however, as he swims directly for potential prey.

A unique relative of the even more unique narwhal, belugas are the smallest species of whale. Even so, they reach 18-feet in length and possess stocky, blubber-walled bodies, making them no easy kill. Especially for a lumbering land giant.

Polar bears hunt in water and can dive for impressive lengths of time to pursue prey. But there’s no competition with the tail and flippers of marine mammals once they take notice.

“In the open water, beluga whales are impossible to catch,” PBS Natures‘ “Canada: Surviving the Wild North“ narrates of the water-bound polar bear’s struggle. “His tactic clearly isn’t working.”

Meanwhile, his remarkably patient counterpart sits perched atop his boulder. “There’s a trick to this,” PBS continues. “And it’s all down to the tides.”

Polar Bear vs Beluga Whale Relies on the Tides

“As the waters rise, the belugas come farther in shore,” which is, of course, better for the bears. Before long, the rock-perched bruin is half submerged in Arctic sea water. And he remains still, calm, and poised.

The more rambunctious of the pair can’t help himself, though. He belly-flops into the rising tide, creating a loud scene. But it doesn’t deter the patient polar bear.

“Experience has taught this old timer how to be an efficient hunter,” PBS cites. Sure enough, after the massive bruin makes a carefully-timed plunge, he emerges with a small beluga whale in his jaws.

The younger, eager bear still has a lot to learn. He pacifies himself with a large blade of seaweed, and wouldn’t dare attempt to steal a bite from his elder. The largest polar bear males can weigh in excess of 1700-pounds. And the longer they live, the more massive they become (as this old timer shows).

The average weight for a boar (male) is 600–1200-pounds by comparison, meaning the far younger boar is vastly outweighed. If this battle turns from polar bear vs beluga whale to bear vs bear, he doesn’t stand a chance.

In kind, it’s a younger, greener beluga that falls prey to the elder bear. Looking to be about half their max size, the small whale was probably a yearling. One that wasn’t aware of the danger of approaching a submerged boulder large enough for a polar bear to perch atop of. And as is the way with nature, experience gives a persistent edge for both predator and prey – as this similar battle between polar bear and walrus shows.