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13 questions about this sleeping polar bear stream

13 questions about this sleeping polar bear stream


What do bears dream of, when they take a little bear snooze?

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Szenja The Polar Bear At SeaWorld San Diego
Photo by Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego via Getty Images

When a video of a sleeping polar bear popped up in my Facebook feed, I — like so many others — abandoned all my work to tune in to this stream of a polar bear sleeping. Yep, that’s all the polar bear did. It napped. What a luxury for a mid-work Wednesday!

The stream comes from Facebook page I fucking love science via, and it is exceptional entertainment. The video is also home to the most wonderful, welcoming comments I’ve ever seen on a live stream. Most of the chatter that flew by were about how beautiful this slumbering giant was, or requests to zoom in closer. “Give it a hug,” one watcher said, while another simply commented “so fluffy and warm.” If only people could be so friendly to humans as they are to polar bears. (Note to self: invest in polar bear costumes.)

The stream ended with more than 1.5 million views (and a like from Mark Zuckerberg!), but you can still watch the archived version.

I don’t know a ton about polar bears, other than they look extremely pettable, so I roped in science reporter and resident bear superfan Angela Chen to answer some of my very important questions. If you’re looking for more videos of cute animals, I’d recommend the Facebook page.

How much do polar bears sleep a day?

Polar bears: they’re just like us! They sleep about seven to eight hours. That said, they live in the Arctic which, as you can see, is perpetually cold, gray, and windy, so the very concepts of “day” and “night” are kind of hazy there. They sleep when they sleep.

Wait a minute. Do bears sleep at the same time like people, or do they get to nap whenever?

People need to get up and go to work so we can keep our jobs, make money, buy food, and live. Polar bears are much more efficient creatures, and cut out all the middle steps. They either get up and get food, or they lie down, go to sleep, and don’t get food. They can nap whenever they damn well wish. I think it’s fair to say that polar bears are their own bosses.

Independence. Patience. Viciousness.

What do you think bears dream about?

The sweet, tender flesh of seals; the glorious, flower-covered tundra in the summer; which of the other polar bears they’ll have to kill for dominance; new ways to clean that silky white pelt; whether hunters are coming for them and, if so, how to rip the hunters apart limb by limb; blood gushing from seals.

This is not based on science. This is just my fantasy.

Do you think the average polar bear prefers to be the big spoon or the little spoon?

I honestly don’t understand why any creature — bear, human, insect — would want to be the big spoon, so I think my answer here is clear.

Where do polar bears live?

The Arctic! Also, in our hearts.

But really, the Arctic, which mostly means the northern parts of Alaska, Russia, Canada, and Greenland.

In your expert opinion, are polar bears the best bear?

Let me tell you more about polar bears. They’re solitary creatures — no running in packs like wolves or deer. They’re patient creatures. They sit by the ice all day every day, waiting for a seal to pop up. They’re strong creatures. When the seal shows up, they use their glorious reflexes to catch them, kill them, and eat them.

polar bears are too wise to fall for that trash

You know what that represents? Independence. Patience. Viciousness. These are all traits I admire, and that I think we all need more of. Except maybe viciousness. The polar bear beautifully represents this, unlike the brown bear or black wear, which definitely do not sit on ice all day like a Buddhist monk. They are clearly the best bear.

Have you ever met a polar bear? (In this case, I will count “seeing” as meeting.)

I used to own a TV, so I saw those Coca-Cola commercials with polar bears, especially around Christmas. I think that counts.

Hug, marry, stick in a zoo: polar bears, koala bears, black bears?

This question is hard. Hugging a koala bear would be most manageable sheerly due to size, but I don’t want to because I secretly think there’s something wrong with them and the look on their faces reminds me of a grandfather I don’t like.

I suppose I would hug a black bear (who cares about size? gotta go for broke), marry a polar bear (see all the reasons above), and stick a koala bear in a zoo.

What do polar bears eat? Do you think they ever feast on the flesh of man? Do you think they like it?

The bread and butter, so to speak, of the polar bear diet is seal flesh. But I have no doubt that were a foolish man to come across his terrain, he would consider it an extra-tasty snack. The caviar of his meal.

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Do polar bears actually like Coca-Cola?

No, Coca-Cola rots your teeth and polar bears are too wise to fall for that trash. Also they have no access to soda or bottle openers.

What are the risks associated with hugging a polar bear? Asking for a friend.

Megan, have you by any chance heard of the 2011 Svalbard polar bear attack? Let me give you some keywords: British children, starving bear, gun that failed to fire.

To be fair, the children were not trying to hug the bear, just... exist near the bear. What will happen to the child that dares to actually touch the majestic creature, I leave as an exercise for the reader’s imagination.