Polar bears have a reputation as being one of the top predators in the Arctic, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that males can be particularly territorial. In many cases, two males who happen upon one another will find themselves fighting, and this can go one of two ways.
Some males engage in play-flights, which might be more common among family members and friends; but others will quite literally fight to the death, either because another male wants to eliminate a potential threat or claim territory or prey as their own.
In this video, we witness two polar bears fighting one another in the freezing Arctic water, but it’s not a fight to the death – rather a play fight between two males. The playful behavior can be discerned in the way that the animals wrestle one another and pause between moves rather than taking advantage of one another to snap back between pauses.
Play fighting not only increases bonding between related polar bears, but it can help a male train and become a better fighter for when it comes time to defend himself against another. These play fights build endurance in the polar bears and teach them how to best respond to certain attack forms much like learning martial arts can prepare you or I for self-defense in a physical encounter.
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Indeed, these playful polar bears are well on their way to becoming better fighters.