If you’ve spent any time on the internet over the past decade, you might have come across a meme or two of a polar bear screaming, yelling, or roaring whilst it poops. But, just how accurate is this? Do polar bears scream when they poop?
No, despite the common internet myth, polar bears do not scream while they poop. However, they do open their mouths very wide which looks like they are roaring in a still photo. The myth traces back to a GIF posted on Reddit in 2013 along with several other false memes about animals.
Keep reading to find out more about the origin of the story and some true facts about polar bear pooping behavior.
Where Did the Myth Come From?
The myth that polar bears scream or yell when they poop has been circulating the internet for quite some time now, often accompanied by this gif.
Polar bears don’t scream while they poop, however, they do often open their mouths very wide which can give the impression that they are roaring or yelling in still images. However, you can see some real footage of a polar bear pooping here and you’ll realise that it is not making a noise.
So, where did this myth come from? Well, we’ve done some internet detective work and found that the image was first posted on 9gag back in 2012 with no mention of the bear screaming.
It was then reproduced into the popular gif and shared on Reddit (via Imgur) by user seahorses4everrr in 2013.
What Do We Know About Polar Bear Pooping Habits?
Unsurprisingly, there aren’t many science-backed polar bear facts concerning their pooping habits so we can assume that they are quite normal.
Many bear species that hibernate during winter have a Fecal Plug. This is a large mass of feces that has become dry and hard after being in the intestine for so long, oftentimes up to 7 months.
Only female polar bears will experience this as they hibernate during pregnancy, male polar bears will not experience this. They will defecate near the den entrance as they emerge from hibernation, it will be largely odorless by this point 1(source: North American Bear Center).
Another common myth is that polar bears have glittery poop. Whilst this is another bizarre internet myth, there is some truth behind the story as researchers at Winnipeg zoo in Canada added different color glitter to each polar bear’s food.