Sloth Bear

[Melursus ursinus]

Sloth bears are 5-6 feet in length (1.4 to 1.7 meters long), and weigh 175 to 310 pounds. (Females are slightly smaller) The name come from the resemblance to the 3-toed sloth. The sloth bear has a gray-white flexible snout which acts as a vacuum cleaner in sucking up termites or grubs from trees. The snout is very flexible and the nostrils can be closed voluntarily. The loud noises they make while feeding on termites attracts hunters, and may contribute to the decline of the species. They are considered to be labiated bears, having a long lower lip and narrow extending tongue to further aid in foraging activities. The black fur is long, shaggy, and often matted. There is a distinguishing white or chestnut horseshoe shaped crescent marking on the chest. The ears are relatively large; The long, curved claws make him a good climber, and, like the sloth, he can hang upside down. They do not hibernate. They are thought to maintain small territories, and live as solitary individuals except when a female is caring for her young. They are the only bears that carry their young on their back. They are good swimmers and climbers. There are fewer than 10,000 in the wild.

Location: Bear Exhibits

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Range

Sloth bears can be found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.


Habitat

Sloth bears inhabit lowland tropical forests, savannas, scrublands, and grasslands


Conservation Status
Vulnerable
Primary Threats
Human Wildlife Coexistence, Climate Change. Their biggest predators are tigers and leopards.
Gestation

Gestation in sloth bears is 6 to 7 months.


Litter

Sloth bears can have a litter of 1-3 cubs.


Behavior

Sloth bears are nocturnal. The loud noises they make while feeding on termites attracts hunters, and may contribute to the decline of the species. They do not hibernate. They are thought to maintain small territories, and live as solitary individuals except when a female is caring for her young.


Reproduction

Breeding usually takes place in May, June or July, with pairs forming for only one or two days. The sloth bear mother dens for the birth, and the cubs stay in the den for 2 or 3 months. After emerging from the den they ride on the mother's back for a time. They are weaned in 9 months, but stay with the mother for 2 or 3 years, until almost fully grown. Median life expectancy in the wild is 10 years and in human care, 40 years.


Wild Diet
Sloth bears eat honey and fruit as well as ants and termites, which they can locate by smell.
Zoo Diet


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