How Tall Are Polar Bears: A Guide to the Height of Earth’s Largest Land Carnivore

Standing Tall: Exploring the Majestic Heights of the Arctic's Apex Predator

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Polar bears are known scientifically as Ursus maritimus. They reign as the largest land carnivores on Earth. These majestic creatures predominantly inhabit the icy expanses of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia - and other Arctic regions. Today, we want to take a moment to discuss the fascinating subject of polar bear height. Many people know that polar bears are large.

But how tall do these giants stand in various positions? And how does their stature compare to other bear species and other large mammals? If you want to find out, keep reading and join us on this educational journey to understand the towering presence of polar bears.

General Facts About Polar Bear Height

When it comes to size, polar bears are truly awe-inspiring. On average, male polar bears stand between 8 to 10 feet tall, while females are generally smaller, ranging from 6 to 8 feet. When walking or standing on all fours, these bears are between 4'4" and 5'3" tall. But don't be fooled; they can tower up to an astonishing 10 feet when they stand on their hind legs. 

Girls stand next to massive polar bear

Brett Hammond/CC BY 2.0

The record for the tallest polar bear ever recorded is genuinely staggering. According to The Guinness Book of Animal Records, a male polar bear shot at Kotzebue Sound, Alaska, in 1960 weighed 2,210 pounds and stood an incredible 12 feet tall on its hind legs. That is a truly intimidating height. This is more than twice the average person's height – let's not even talk about the difference in body weight.

Why Do Polar Bears Stand on Their Hind Legs?

Close-up shot of two polar bears standing on snow

Two polar bears standing on snow

You might wonder why polar bears need to stand on their hind legs, given their already imposing size. The primary reason is a better vantage point (or perspective). No matter if they are scanning the horizon for potential prey or keeping an eye out for threats - standing tall gives them a broader field of vision.

Additionally, this posture can serve as a display of dominance or even curiosity. In some instances, polar bears have also been observed standing to reach food sources that are otherwise inaccessible.

Polar Bear Height Comparison with Other Bears

When it comes to height, polar bears are the undisputed giants among bear species. To give you a clearer picture, let's compare them with other bears:

Bear SpeciesAverage Height on All FoursAverage Height Standing Up
Polar Bear4'4" - 5'3"8' - 10'
Brown Bear3'6" - 4'7' - 9'
Black Bear2'6" - 3'5' - 6'
Panda Bear2' - 3'4' - 5'
Sloth Bear2' - 3'4' - 5'
Andean Bear2' - 3'4' - 5'

As you can see, there really is no other bear that can compete with the polar bear and stand taller. We bet the other bear species are glad that polar bears keep to themselves and stay in the Artic regions. 

Polar Bear Height vs. Humans and Other Mammals

When we compare them to humans, polar bears are true titans. The average adult human is about 5'6", dwarfed by a polar bear's towering height. Even among other large mammals like elephants (which can stand up to 13 feet), polar bears hold their own, especially when you consider they are carnivores and not herbivores.

Now You Know It – The Giants of The Arctic

Now that you have read this article, you know this: Polar bears are the largest land carnivores and among the tallest animals on Earth. Their height serves various functional purposes, from hunting to surveillance. Let's continue to marvel at these magnificent creatures while advocating for their conservation.