The Honey Bear Lair

This blog is dedicated to the endangered Malayan Sun Bear. The sun bear (Ursus malayanus), also known as the honey bear, is a bear found primarily in the tropical rainforest (the dense lowland forests) in Southeast Asia; North-East India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Southern China, Peninsular Malaysia, and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. [Source]
Sun Bear
Order:  Carnivora
Family:  Ursidae
Genus and Species:  Helarctos malayanus
Precious little is known about the natural history of the world’s smallest bear, but hunting, capture, and the disappearance of its rainforest habitat paint a disturbing picture for its future.
Physical Description: In parts of its range, the sun bear is called the dog bear, probably due to the combination of its small size, short fur, long tongue, and short-haired gray or orange muzzle. The animal’s coat is glossy black and less than a half-inch long. A gold, orange, or whitish “U” marks the chest. The sun bear’s tongue is long, likely an adaptation used to gather honey and insects from within tree cavities. Bare soles and long, curved claws help it climb trees.
Size: Sun bears grow four to five feet long, stand about two feet high at the shoulder, and weigh 60 to 145 pounds. Males are a bit larger than females.
Geographic Distribution: The sun bear’s exact distribution is unknown, but it has been found in many parts of Southeast Asia, including northern Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. A few individuals may still linger in Bangladesh. Sun bears are likely extinct in southern China.
Status: The sun bear is listed as “data deficient” on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals. This designation emphasizes how little scientists know about this bear’s natural history, distribution, and decline.
Habitat: Sun bears inhabit lowland tropical rainforest.
Natural Diet: Sun bears are thought to eat a variety of rainforest fruits and vegetation, including palm shoots. They also feed on insects, honey, birds, and other small animals. In disturbed areas, they will raid farms, killing plantation palm trees to eat “heart of palm,” or feasting on bananas, papayas, or garbage. These food raids often lead to conflicts with people.
Reproduction: Very little is known about the sun bear’s breeding biology. Young may be born throughout the year, perhaps coinciding with the fruiting times of important trees. About three months after mating, female sun bears give birth to one or two young. Cubs stay with their mothers until adulthood.
Life Span: The sun bear’s longevity in the wild is unknown, but individuals have lived up to 25 years in zoos.
Behavior: Active mostly at night, the sun bear likely spends much of its time searching for fruits and insects. It likely sleeps in trees, and often climbs in search of food, using its long claws to tear into bee nests and termite mounds. The most docile of the bears, sun bears are often captured when young and kept as pets, to their detriment.
Fun Facts:
The sun bear’s creamy chest crescent inspired its common name.
A sun bear’s legs are turned inward while walking.
Sun bears do not hibernate.
By Howard Youth
ZooGoer 28(2) 1999.
Copyright 1999 Friends of the National Zoo.
All rights reserved.
  1. extra-chunky reblogged this from honeybearlair
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  4. hopeisspringing reblogged this from honeybearlair and added:
    =( i miss my cuddle buddy
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  6. cavefatuam reblogged this from honeybearlair and added:
    I’m pretty sure that Sun Bears are my spirit animal, because NAP.
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