- Bear vocalization (and hearing) not well known.
- Knowledge of the bears’ hearing range important for establishing effects of noise disturbance on these bears. (Owen 2007)
- Females and cubs use chuffing call with each other.
- 1-32 low intensity sound pulses emitted in rapid succession
- Most frequent in cub’s early months.
- Chuffing call infrequent in adults; may signal stress/agitation.
- Bears snort /chuff, growl, and chomp teeth when aggressive
- Polar Bears raised in managed care “groaned and chuffed” when presented with underwater call of Ringed Seals (their favored prey). (Cushing et al 1988)
- Preliminary investigations of acoustic communication in Polar Bears indicate they can produce low frequency sounds. (Owen 2009)
Olfactory and visual signals
- Highly developed sense of smell.
- Detect breathing holes of Ringed Seal from at least 1 kilometer (.6 mi)
- Use of scents (pheromones) not documented but probably present when males seek females.
- Adult male may walk 10 km in a straight line in search of a breeding female’s track.
- Once track crossed, recognition is instantaneous and he will proceed until he catches up to her.
- Limited number of visual facial signals. (Kurt 1990)
- Facial muscles poorly developed.
- Unlike highly social cats and wolves, solitary lifestyle doesn’t require elaborate mechanisms for group coexistence.
Source: San Diego Zoo wildlife Alliance Library
Manager’s Office Team