Polar bears are apex predators. These sister species of the brown bear are the biggest meat eaters to live on land, yet for some reason, some Polar bears have learned to interact with sled dogs without trying to kill and eat them.
In a video uploaded to YouTube by David de Meulles, a Polar bear is seen patting the head of a sled dog as the dog lazes on the water’s edge in Churchill, Manitoba.
“I had no idea what was going to happen, and then sure enough he started petting that dog, acted like he was a friend,” De Meulles told CBC News. “I just so happen to catch a video of a lifetime.”
The massive Polar bear continues to pat the dog on the head several times, as if it wants to play with the dog.
Finally the dog, who apparently was enjoying soaking up the sun, gets up on all fours and shakes off, seemingly oblivious to the fact that land’s largest meat-eating predator was in the midst, giving out head-pats. The dog then proceeds to walk, as the Polar bear backs up due to the rope the dog is tied to. The video then ends.
“I’ve known the bears to have somewhat friendly behaviour with the dogs, but for a bear to pet like a human would pet a dog is just mind-blowing,” De Meulles told CBC News. “It was a beautiful sight to see, and I just can’t believe an animal that big would show that kind of heart toward another animal.”
It is not the first such recording showing the apex Arctic predator interacting with dogs. Another video uploaded to the sharing site in 2007 shows a pack of dogs interacting and playing with several Polar bears. The owner of the dogs in that video says the interactions occur quite often, and the bears are very playful throughout the clip, as long as the bears keep a distance from the man.