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polar bears snuggling

When snuggles become cuddles

Snuggling 101: Polar Bear Style

Class in session, everyone! Gather ’round!  These two polar bears have been spotted in recent days sparring and playing. Now they’re going to school us in cuddling in the cold.

Out on the tundra, Polar bears snuggle for warmth even though they also have a layer of fat to insulate themselves and store energy. And like the polar pair in this video, the bears occasionally spar, or play fight. Sparring reinforces relationships between animals; it determines who is stronger and establishes a hierarchy. It also prepares younger polar bears for the consequential competition to come.

“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. Check out this highlight video and learn a thing or two about snuggling.

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