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Sun Bear

sun bear information and facts
  • The sun bear, or Malayan sun bear, is one of the smallest bears. It has short and smooth hair because it lives in the subtropics. Its fur protects it against rain, insects, and vegetation (thorns, scrapes, etc.). It has a small muzzle, tiny ears, and small eyes.
  • The sun bear has a beautiful and unusual U-shaped pattern that is golden in color. The shape is half an oval, symbolizing a rising or setting sun. Occasionally the lighter color is freckled with brown patches. The same golden color is found on the muzzle of the bear, sometimes more cream or white colored.

  • Despite their name, sun bears are not active during the day. They are mostly nocturnal and become active at dusk when it is more comfortable to forage. However they like to sunbath in tree top branches during the day.

  • They live in Southeast Asia in parts of India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Burma. They are also found in the southern regions of China.

  • The average male weight is about 100 to 140 pounds, females average about 20% less. Average length is between 4 to 5 feet long.

  • Lifespan estimate: 10 to 15 years in the wild.

  • The Malayan sun bear is omnivorous. They have a varied diet and they are fond of sweet foods such as honey. They will eat most hanging or stalk type fruits, including coconuts and bananas. They also like ground and flying bugs such as termites, ants, centipedes, beetles, and moths. Small animals are part of their diet, such as rodents and birds. They will also feed on bee nests for both honey and bees.

  • Sun bears have an unusually long tongue that is uncommon in the bear family. They use their tongue to enter termite nests to extract the insects for a delicious snack. They also use the same technique to extract honey from bee nests.

  • Very long claws is a characteristic of the sun bear. The sun bear is an excellent climber since its claws give it extra traction on tree trunks and branches.

  • Cubs are born in a litter size of 1 to 3, two is common. Their weight is between 12 to 16 ounces. However birth weight may be greater if food supplies are ample and the litter size is smaller.

  • There is no shortage of threats to the Malayan sun bear. They are poached for their body parts (gallbladders), prosecuted by farmers protecting their crops, and loss of habitat. Although trading bear body parts is illegal, enforcement programs are underfunded making policing challenging.

Both the sun bear and moon bear are exploited for the barbaric practice of bear farming.



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