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polar bears sparring

Polar Bears Spar Paw to Paw (video)

Over the weekend we caught some fantastic you-are-there footage of two young polar bears sparring on the snow-covered tundra. Limbs flailed, teeth gnashed, bellies were seen. Take a look below at the highlight video of these two heavyweights going head to head.

Polar bears spar for many of the same reasons other animals, like your cats or dogs, spar. The practice reinforces relationships between animals. It determines who is stronger and establishes a hierarchy. It also prepares younger polar bears for the real knock-down, drag-out competition to come.  But it’s more play fighting than real fighting.

“Sparring can develop and enforce muscle movements for later in life when they are actually hunting,” 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.

EXPLORE The Complete – Polar Bear Live Cam Experience