A Day in the Life of a Polar Bear

Background on the Arctic

Where polar bears live, the Arctic, there is no real identification for time of day. Due to the Arctic’s extreme north location, wildlife there do not experience the same night and day that most of the world does. The Arctic can have 24-hour days (meaning the sun never sets) in the summer, and 0-hour days (the sun never rises) in the winter.

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Polar Bears are most active in the mornings. During spring season, mother and cubs hunt 19% of the day, and males will hunt for 25% of their day.

During brighter summer months, mother and cubs will hunt for 38% of their day, while males hunt for 40% of their day.


During colder, cloudier days, polar bears will find shelter to utilize for several months, depending on the severity of the winter.


During warmer, sunny days, they will make snow pits to lay in, or just lay out without a pit to soak up the warmth of the sun.

When polar bears are not hunting, they spend the majority of their day sleeping and resting.

Polar bears are also known for taking numerous daytime naps.

Two Cubs With Their Mama

Photographer: Thomas Kokta

Polar Bear Mama with Twin Cubs
Polar Bear Den Diagram with Mama & 3 Cubs
Polar Bear Den Diagram


Preparing For Bed

When preparing to go to sleep, polar bears will dig short pits in the snow so they can curl up for a comfortable night’s rest. Similar to humans, polar bears need around seven to eight hours of sleep a day.


Polar bears create pits along coastlines, floating sea ice, or islands surrounding the Arctic region. Their dens usually have a signle chamber that is slightly above a short tunnel that leads to an entrance. Occasionally polar bears will build more complex dens with multiple chambers.

They typically sleep with their backs to the wind to ensure a warmer snooze.

When is International Polar Bear Day?

February 27th

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