Fact Check

Do Polar Bears Yell When They Poop?

If you repeat a joke over and over, it may eventually be considered an interesting "fact."

Published May 21, 2021

Image Via Wikipedia
Polar bears yell when they poop.

One interesting "fact" about polar bears that you may have heard is that they scream when they poop. This factoid has been circulating on the internet for years and is often shared in the form of meme featuring a picture of a pooping (and seemingly yelling) polar bear:

It's certainly possible that a polar bear has grunted, groaned, or even roared while defecating, but it is not common (or necessary) for a polar bear to yell while defecating. This is just an old joke that has been repeated so many times some people have come to accept it as real.

The polar bear is a somewhat elusive animal, as it lives in the sparsely populated arctic, but humans have had plenty of chances to see (and hear) the bodily functions of these large mammals. Many videos on the internet show polar bears pooping, but none of them (at least the ones that we viewed) featured a polar bear yelling. If you don't want to take our word for it, feel free to view these videos yourself.

The above-displayed image was taken circa 2009 by Alek Komarnitsky during a Polar Bear Tour in Churchill, Canada. Komarnitsky published this photograph to this website along with several other images from this tour:

My wonderful wife Wendy works at Natural Habitat Adventures (they run incredible nature trips like this worldwide) and since the company liked the pictures I took down South in Antarctica, they sent me up North for the Polar Bears - man, am I lucky! Churchill, Canada is aptly named the Polar Bear Capital of the World. It is amazing to watch these big white animals up close; and have them stand up to breathe on your hands through a metal grate - see links to videos at the bottom. For getting around on the snow, the giant Polar Rover is a sweeeet ride and I was fortunate to be able to stay in the very cool Great White North Polar Bear Tundra Lodge that was constantly surrounded by Polar Bears.

The original posting of this picture did not include the claim that this polar bear poop involved a polar bear yell. Rather, Komarnitsky posted the image along with a joke about the old adage of bears pooping in the woods. Komarnitsky wrote: "Regular Bears poop in the woods - Polar Bears poop in the snow! ;-)"

This picture proved popular with meme makers and was soon shared alongside jokes about global warming, Al Gore, and Taco Bell. In early 2013, an anonymous internet user attached this "fun fact" caption and the picture went viral. This picture and caption continues to circulate on social media and has led some to believe that this "fun fact" is a genuine piece of information about polar bears.

It's not. Polar bears do not yell when they poop.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.