Sun Bear

Helarctos malayanus

The Sun Bear is found in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. Unlike other bears, this one has a sleek and short coat, which is maybe an adaptation to the lowland equatorial climate.

This bear, the smallest one of the Family Ursidae, is an excellent climber and has a very long tongue that it uses to extract honey from beehives and ants form termite nests. Besides beenests and termites, the Sun Bear also eats small vertebrates (such as lizards and birds), fruits, eggs, roots, cocoa, and coconuts. Its powerful jaws can crack open nuts.

In spite of its smaller size, it is one of the most aggressive bears: it can attack without being provoked. On the other hand, because it has very loose skin around its neck, if the bear is grabbed from behind by some predator, it can wriggle its body inside its skin, far enough to turn around and bite back.

The above picture was taken at the zoo of Portland, Oregon, in April 2004.

Family Ursidae
Superfamily Canoidea
Order Carnivora
Subclass Eutheria
Class Mammalia
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth