About Bears
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About Bears

Sloth Bear

Sloth Bears are omnivorous mammals.

Sloth Bear Classification:

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species: Ursinus
Melursus ursinus or Ursus ursinus

Other Names: Aswail Baloo, Honey Bear, Jungle Joker, Lip Bear, and Labiated Bear

Sub-species: There are two subspecies of sloth bears:

Sri Lankan sloth bear - Melursus ursinus inornatus
Common sloth bear - Melursus ursinus ursinus

Size: Adult sloth bears weigh from 120 to 310 lbs. Sloth bears are on average 5 to 6 feet tall. Female sloth bears are signifcantly smaller than their male counterparts (usually females are 2/3 the size of the males).

Habitat: Sloth bears are found on the Indian sub-continent.Sloth bears are found in the forested and grassland regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan as well as the island of Sri Lanka.

Sloth Bear
Sloth Bear

Conservation Classification: Vulnerable

Sloth Bear Photo
There are an estimated 7000 and 10,000 sloth bears in the world.

Territories: Sloth bears are territorial, they will leave markings on trees with their claws and teeth, as well as excrement to mark their domain. A female sloth bears territory is usually around 3 square miles, and the average range of male sloth bear is about 5 miles.

Diet: Sloth bears primarily eat termites and ants. Sloth bears have a gap in their front teeth through which they suck in the insects. The sloth bear closes their nostrils and use their lips like a vacuum nozzle. Sloth bears will turn over rocks and logs and dig as deep as 5 feet to feed on large underground insect colonies.

Sloth bears will also eat flowers, and fruit. The will occasionally knock down a honeycomb from a tree, hence the "honey bear" reference.

Senses: Sloth bears have an excellent sense of smell, but relatively poor hearing and vision.

Behavior: Sloth bears are nocturnal. Sloth bears are not known to be aggressive, however female sloth bears can be extremely vicious when protecting their young.

Description: Sloth bears have long, curved claws that are up to 3 inches in length. The claw are incredibly strong and are used to penetrate the rock hard insect mounds and nests. Sloth bears have a shaggy black coat and a cream-colored snout. The sloth bear has a distinctive "v" or "y" design of whitish or cream fur on their chest. The front legs of a sloth bear are longer than the bear's hind legs. The sloth bear's paws are turned inward, and they have webbed toes. Sloth bears have a long narrow tongue and long lower lip, that are also used to retrieve insects.

Birth: Sloth bears will give birth to a litter of two cubs. The newborn cubs are 10.5 and 17.5 ounces at birth, they are born hairless.

Did You Know?

Sloth bears are the only bears that carry their young on their back.

Gestation: Sloth bears typically carry their young for 6-7 months.

Cubs: Sloth bear cubs will remain with their mother for the first 2-3 years of life.

Sexual Maturity: Sloth bears reach sexual maturity at 3 to 4 years of age.

Life Span: Sloth bears live on average up to 20 years, though they can live up to 40 years in captivity. .

Social Structure: Sloth bears are solitary creatures. The only time they are not alone is when mating or when a mother has young.

Did You Know?

The sloth bear makes so much noise sucking up insects that it can be heard up to 300 yards away.

Athleticism: Sloth bears are excellent climbers.

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