The Malayan Sun Bear
Sun bears are smaller than all other bears.
They spend a lot of time in trees.
They live in hot rainforests.
They eat plants and meat.
They have a yellow V mark on their chest.
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Habitat and distribution (where they are found)
Sun bears live in southeast Asia in the eastern Himalayas, China, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sumatra, Borneo, Indonesia and Malayasia, a few places in Japan and in Taiwan.
They live in thick tropical rainforests, in lowland areas rather than in the mountains. They are often in trees.
Appearance and Behaviours
The small bear stands at about 70 cm and weighs about 30-65 kilograms. Females are a bit smaller. It is the smallest of all the different kinds of bear, and some people believe possibly one of the fiercest.
Although it has 'sun' in its name, the sun bear is nocturnal, which means it is mainly active at night, and it sleeps in the day in nests it makes in trees.
Its solid body is covered with short, smooth fur. It has a short tail and rounded ears, and an orange-yellow V mark on its chest.
It has a very long tongue which is used for getting honey out of bee hives and insects out of cracks. It rips apart logs with its 10 cm long, strong claws. An excellent climber, it has no fur on the soles of its feet for better grip when climbing trees.
The sun bear is omnivorous, meaning it eats plants and meat. It feeds on berries, roots, fruit, small rodents, insects, lizards, birds and earthworms. It climbs trees to get honey made by wild bees. It is often called a honey bear because of this. Sun bears also climb farmed coconut palms and eat the heart of the palm trees, which results in the bears being killed by farmers.
About 100 days after mating, the female gives birth, normally to two cubs, in a nest in the forest undergrowth. The cubs weigh about 225 grams, and are blind, hairless and helpless. Their skin is almost transparent. However, after about 1-2 months, they are able to forage for food with their mother. The cubs stay with their mother until they are almost fully grown.
It is believed that sun bears live for about 24 years in the wild.
Conservation Status and Threats
The sun bear is classified as Vulnerable. Because the bear is so shy and lives in remote places, it is not known how many still exist in the wild. However, their habitat is rapidly being destroyed.
Sun bears sleep much of the day and are most active at night.
One major threat they face is that it is believed by some people that the gall bladder and other body parts of the sun bear can be made into magical medicines. This is not scientifically true, but many still believe it and poachers hunt them.
Go here to read more about sun bears
If you use this in your own work, acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Sydenham, S. & Thomas, R. Malayan Sun Bear [Online] www.kidcyber.com.au(2001)
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updated March 2014 ©kidcyber.com.au
Sun bear habitat