Sun bears are the smallest member of the bear family and live a reclusive life in the dense forests of Southeast Asia. But what else do we know about these adorably small and cuddly-looking (apart from the ENORMOUS claws) sun bears? Here we go!:
- Sun bears measure approximately 1.2 – 1.5 metres long, weighing 27 – 70kg
- Their average life span in the wild is up to 25 years
- They are categorised as vulnerable 🙁
- The name “sun bear” originates from the bib-shaped white patch on their chest. Legend says this represents the rising sun!
- Their dumpy little stature has given them the nickname “dog bear”
- They have sleek coats which are short to avoid overheating, but thick enough to protect them from twigs, branches and rain
- Ironically considering their name, sun bears are creatures of the night!
- Sun bears enjoy snacking on fruits, roots, berries, insects, birds, lizards and rodents
- Their strongest sense is that of smell
- Their claws can be longer than 10cm! This is useful for ripping open trees and termite nests
- Their outrageously long tongues have adapted to help them extract honey from bees nests
- Their homelands are being lost rapidly to deforestation, poachers hunt them for body parts and fur, and some farmers kill them on site because they often eat crops such as oil palm, coconuts, and bananas. Adult females are also frequently killed so their cubs can be taken and raised as pets.
Sun bears captured your imagination? Why not join a volunteer programme in Malaysian Borneo to help look after these tiny bears. You can find out more about volunteering with sun bears here.