Can Polar Bears Climb Trees?

Polar bears cannot climb trees. In fact, all other species of bears can climb trees except polar bears. This is because polar bears are big and heavy. Their large sizes do not help them climb trees. Plus, there are a few trees in the Arctic to climb, even if these beasts could.

Do you know that polar bears are the best climbers of terrain in the Arctic? Have you ever wondered how many feet high they can climb the terrain? Well, the answer will surprise you! We are about to open the folder on why polar bears stayed behind in the race to climb trees.

Why Do Polar Bears Not Climb Trees?

polar bear

Polar bears can climb 30 to 35 feet high terrain, but they do not climb trees. Have you noticed that polar bears stand out in other adaptations, but why not with climbing trees? Here are a few reasons given by the report of Polar Bears Facts about why polar bears cannot climb trees:

1. Body Structure

Polar bears, as we all know, have massive bodies and strong limbs. Their heavy bodies are adapted for swimming and walking in the icy Arctic. But their bodies, with tons of weight, are not designed for climbing trees.

2. Long Claws

Polar bears are kings of the Arctic, with curved and long claws. Their claws are suited for gripping ice and catching prey. These claws are not for grasping tree branches. Their claws are not rounded and short. Otherwise, they would climb. Here is amazing video footage of a polar bear trying to climb trees but failing to do so.

3. Distributed Weight

Although polar bears have strong bodies, their bodies are not as flexible as those of other bears. For example, the body weight of polar bears is distributed on their four legs. Their anatomy makes it challenging to navigate tree branches without losing balance.

4. Lack of Practice

There are no trees for polar bears to climb in their natural habitat – the Arctic. So, they have not evolved the necessary skills to climb trees like other bear species. We all know the fact that all other bears live in habitats where trees are abundantly available for them. Contrarily, polar bears rarely encounter trees.

See also  Polar Bear vs Hippo: 10 Differences & Battle Winner

5. Carnivorous – Meat-Eaters

Polar bears eat seals. They are meat eaters. They don’t rely on fruits, berries, and plants to survive. That’s why their hunting techniques include stealth and ambush tactics to hunt animals on land. They don’t need to climb trees to get food.

6. No Predators

Polar bears are themselves one of the biggest predators in the Arctic. They do not have natural predators. That’s why they do not feel the need to hide or climb trees to get camouflage from predators. All because they do not have enemies. And, it’s stupidity to hide in trees where there is no tree.

Apart from all the above-mentioned reasons, evolutionary trade-offs are another reason why they don’t climb trees. Evolution tends to favor traits that provide a survival advantage in a specific environment. Climbing trees was not beneficial in the Arctic.

Can All Bears Climb Trees? Which Bears Can Climb Trees?

Polar Bear

All bears can climb trees except polar bears. Here are the bear species that climb trees faster and more easily:

1. American Black Bear

American black bears are incredible tree climbers. They use all four legs to push them up in the trees. Hind legs push them up and front claws help them to pull up their bodies. Claws hook to the trees and give them a grip of climbing up fastly.

2. Grizzly Bears

Young or cub brown bears can climb 6-feet trees. However, when they grow up, their body weight increases, and they become too fat to climb trees. That’s why adult and old-age brown bears do not climb trees.

3. Andean Bears

Andean bears are found in South America. These bears are also included in the list of the greatest climbers. One of the unique characteristics of Andean bears is that they spend most of their time on trees, unlike other bear species. Whether the trees are large, small, or thick, they know how to get to the top.

4. Asiatic Black Bears

Asiatic black bears climb trees just like other bears. They climb to get food in order to survive. They have a unique characteristic that makes them stand out from the crowd. They can hibernate in trees. But they do not climb trees when they get young or old, as their bodies become bulky, just like polar bears and grizzly bears.

See also  Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear: Key Differences & Battle Winner

5. Giant Panda Bears

Giant panda bears are excellent tree climbers. You would have seen them on TV and the internet climbing trees. These clumsy bears are known as slow and lazy climbers. They climb trees like caterpillars.

6. Sloth Bears

Sloth bears are known as the second-best and fastest tree climbers among other bears. Climbing a smooth tree is a matter of seconds for them. These are mostly found in Sri Lanka, India, Central America, and South America.

7. Sun Bears

Sun bears have the title of king climbers of trees. These quick beasts climb trees togete rest and food. Their months-old cubs are pros at climbing trees. They can hang their bodies from trees without fear.

Which Bear Is the Best Climber?

American black bears are the best climbers of all. These bear species just need 10 seconds to climb a 20 meters long tree. They climb trees to reach safety and escape from predators.

Their mothers also climb up on the trees to keep them safe and sound from threats and predators. Not just this, they climb to get berries, acorns, honey, fruits, cactus fruits, and bird eggs.

Can Polar Bears Climb Christmas Trees?

No, polar bears cannot climb Christmas trees. They can’t climb trees. Whether it’s a Christmas tree or any other tree, polar bears can’t climb them. But can they climb cliffs? Yes, they can.

Rock climbing is easy for mother polar bears, cubs, and adults. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to climb cliffs to hunt small mammals and feed on bird eggs. Here is a proof document from WWF showing a polar bear climbing cliffs in a national park in Russia.

Can Polar Bears Climb Mountains?

polar bear

Yes, polar bears can easily climb mountains. In their natural habitat, they are well adapted to climbing slippery and rocky terrain. They would not be the champions in climbing mountains compared to other bear species.

However, they know how to survive in mountainous areas. In the summer season, the show fades away, and so the polar bears climb steep paths to move on. We just understand that they are not built to be mountaineers.

See also  How Tall is a Polar Bear Standing Up?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs’)

Can polar bears living in captivity climb trees?

No, polar bears living in captivity do not climb trees. If they climb after getting training and adapting behavior since their childhood, then there are possibilities of it. However, they would climb only a limited number of trees. Otherwise, we have not seen any polar bears climbing trees.

Would a polar bear survive in the forest without climbing trees?

There are fifty-fifty chance of polar bears surviving in the forest without climbing trees. They need meat to survive and seals to get fat. If they do not climb trees, how would they survive if they failed to get fruits and other nutrients? However, they could survive on other land animals living in the forest.

Do polar bears like to climb trees?

No, polar bears do not like to climb trees. We mean to say, Why would they like to climb trees even if there are no trees in the tundra? Additionally, if tree climbers in centuries past, they have lost the ability to do so through evolution. They do not even try to climb trees because they know all their efforts will go in vain.

Can baby polar bears climb trees?

No, baby polar bears (cubs) cannot climb trees. They don’t know how to climb trees. Their parents have not taught them to climb trees and it’s not in their natural anatomy. Thus, there are many reasons why cubs do not climb trees.


Our research revealed that polar bears do not climb trees. According to various studies, they belong to the brown bear species and evolved centuries ago. Who knows that they, like brown bears thousands of years ago, were adept tree climbers?

Or perhaps these creatures simply lack the motivation to engage in physical activity because they are too sleepy and lazy to do so. Above all, lack of need is the main reason why they don’t feel the need to adapt to this physical adaptation.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the rebellious nature of polar bears when climbing trees. If you have any doubt, you can ask in the comments section. We would be happy to clear that up!

2 thoughts on “Can Polar Bears Climb Trees?”

Leave a Comment