Interesting Facts About the Sun Bear

Sun Bear Tongue

With its scientific name Helarctos Malayanus, the Sun bear, also known as the Malayan bear is the smallest in size of all bear species, which is why it is often kept as a pet. The name of the sun comes from the sign it shows on its chest, a white circle or semicircle.

Sun bears can live with black bears in the southern parts of Asia. They also live in the eastern part of India. These bears prefer heights, so they sleep in trees, in specially built nests. They typically have a diurnal behavior, but can become nocturnal when they feel disturbed by the presence of people.


A large number of specimens are scattered on the island of Borneo. There are also family representatives in Thailand, Indonesia, and India. They are found in Laos and Vietnam. Some are common in Sumatra and southern China.

Distinctive features include the unique nature of life. Individuals spend most of their lives up on trees. The exception is females and their offspring. They try to stay in the area close to the males, who will protect them in case of danger.

Animals are mostly awake at night. They like dark and cloudy weather. During the day, they rest in their shelters. In normal times, a refuge is built on a tree, the animal using branches and twigs to do it. If the animal suddenly falls into captivity, it is easy to get used to and succumb to training.

What does a Sun bear eat?

Sun bears are omnivorous animals. They eat almost anything edible: Small vertebrates such as lizards, termites, snails, eggs, nesting birds, fruits, etc.

They love honey and eat it whenever they have the chance to use their long, narrow tongue to collect it.

You might also like my articles with interesting facts about the African elephant, Virginia Opossum, or Binturong.

The sun bear’s food is similar to that of the Asian black bear because the habitat they live in is almost the same.

Sun bear appearance

The pigmentation of the muscle is beige with golden spots or with reduced waves, it all depends on the individual. The rest of the body is dark brown or black. Among similar species, this species is significantly distinguished by its general characteristics. Individuals grow up to 0,7 m to the maximum at the withers. In terms of body length, the figures are about 1,5 m. Partly because of this, these animals look uncomfortable and elongated.

Depending on the characteristics of the weight, individuals weigh about 70 kg, but more often you can meet representatives of this species who are not well-fed. The tongue is very long, has a sticky lubricant, and can curl like a tube or hang like a rope. The bears love honey, enjoying it with the help of their tongues. Fangs are arched and elongated, not like in other bears. These animals climb on the bark, tearing it up and consuming the insects.

These creatures are endowed with large blue eyes. The visual apparatus is poorly developed, so bears are called half-blind. But this is compensated by excellent hearing and smell, which guide these animals. They have a rather aggressive mood, directly related to poor vision. When the foot hits something, then out of confusion it starts to get angry. Despite their weight and small size, these bears are fierce fighters.

The ears are placed at a certain distance, having a small size with rounded edges. The coat itself does not grow more than 6 cm in length, although these figures are often limited to 4 cm. Their muscles have a wide and short format. The claws are strong and elongated. There are folds of skin on the neck, and foot, protecting them from other predators because they are usually bitten at the withers.

Despite their miniature size, these animals are distinguished by a high level of intelligence. They are smarter than other bears, and they can make decisions in difficult situations. If we compare the general characteristics of the average bear, they are similar to large dogs. Bears are also tied to a chain when they are held in captivity, as dogs are.

Reproduction in Sun bear

Sun Bea FactsWith the onset of the mating season, representatives of the stronger gender begin to care for females. Only after that, the male manages to gain the attention of the chosen one. Then comes the mating. It takes a few days. The female gives birth to offspring after 200 days.

After that, up to 3 babies are born. They are completely defenseless, practically naked, and blind. Individuals reach puberty from 3 to 5 years of age. For the first two years of its life, the young male remains to live with its mother. Bear cubs feed on milk for about 4 months. For about 2 months, the offspring will not leave the nest at all.

Sun bear cubs begin to go out about 2,5-3 months after birth. Sometimes they start hunting with their mother. In this way, the descendants learn about the wildlife. If you keep the animal in captivity, it can live for a quarter of a century. In terms of wild conditions and natural environment, Sun bears rarely live to reach 18 years.

Animals have long been listed in the Red Book. The problem is that the number of this species continues to decline. This is because poachers, in spite of everything, continue to hunt wild animals. Local healers use the animal’s liver and bladder for medicinal purposes to eliminate various ailments. The number of bears is also decreasing due to the massive deforestation of tropical forests.

Sun bear’s role in man’s life

Nowadays, more and more people continue to hunt Sun bears rather because of sports interests. Hunters also sell various parts of the animal’s body. As mentioned earlier, some organs are used in traditional medicine. Moreover, such drugs have a long history.

In addition, wild animals’ bile is considered a powerful tool for the treatment of quite serious pathologies. The Chinese claim that even fatal diseases can be cured. Animal hair is mainly used for making hats.

In some regions, Sun bears play an important role. The animals carry the seeds of different plants. In just one sample of bear droppings, more than 300 seeds were found that could germinate well. Otherwise, the animals affect the harvest of bananas and coconut plantations.

As mentioned earlier, the animals are listed in the Red Book. Sun bears are considered one of the rarest of relatives. There are so few remaining that it is not even possible to determine exactly how many animals are there in total.

It is worth noting that every year the number of wild animals is decreasing because habitats are destroyed, and individuals are forced to live in isolated territories.

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