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Malayan Sun Bear Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Helarctos malayanus
  • Class

    Mammals
  • Order

    Carnivora
  • Range

    The sun bear is found throughout Southeast Asia, from China through Indonesia.

  • Habitat

    Sun bears favor tropical forests at low elevations. Their large, curved claws make them well-suited to climbing trees.

  • Niche

    Sun bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They consume fruit, when it’s available, and will also hunt rodents, birds and lizards. The biggest portion of their diet is bees, termites and earthworms. The sun bear’s tongue can reach up to 10 inches in length, helping it to extract insects and honey from nests and hives. The species is nocturnal—mostly active at night.

  • Life History

    Female sun bears typically give birth to litters of one-two cubs. Offspring are blind and helpless at birth. They stay with their mothers until they're fully mature, generally a period of three years.

  • Special Adaptations

    Sun bears have a well-developed sense of smell, which they use to locate food.

    Because the species eats such a wide range of plants, it plays an important role in its ecosystem by dispersing seeds through its feces.The polar bear's thick coat helps it to stay warm, and black skin beneath helps the species absorb heat. Beneath the skin, a sizable layer of blubber—up to five inches thick—helps the mammal stay warm.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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