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Polar Bear Q&A of the Day: Why do polar bears sleep so much?

Polar Bear experts are on hand during Polar Bear Cam season to weigh in on your frequently asked questions!

Today’s Question: Why do polar bears sleep so much?

When polar bears gather on the shores of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba each year, they are waiting for sea ice to form so they can hunt seals. While waiting, they hunker down in day beds or in willows (low shrubs found on the tundra) to rest and save energy for hunting.

Even when the ice has come in, most polar bears sleep for seven or eight hours at a stretch and take naps in between! In that way, they are a lot like people. “Polar bears nap just about anywhere and any time, and especially after feeding on a seal. Napping helps bears conserve energy. A polar bear’s entire existence centers on hunting and conserving energy,” said Tom Smith, an associate professor and research wildlife biologist in the Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

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