Are you ready to learn some of the most exciting sloth bear facts? The sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is probably the only bear species which has an insectivorous diet rather than omnivorous. It is mainly found in the Indian Subcontinent. The sloth bear has the longest tail of all bears. It is also known as labiated bear.
Sloth Bear Facts for Kids
Adult males weigh 176 to 423 pounds while females average 121 to 273 pounds in weight. The bear has a shoulder height of 60 – 90 cm. The head-body length of a bear is about 4.6–6.2 pounds. Unlike other bears, the sloth bear has pretty long lower lips—possibly an adaptation to consume large amount of insects.
The bear’s tail can reach a length of 4.6–6.2 cm. Yet another of its unique characteristic is the bear’s mane that measures 30 cm in length. It has powerful claws measuring 4 inches in length.
Sloth bears are termite-eaters. They produce a loud sucking sound while eating termites. One can hear this sound a good 180 meters away. Bears also supplement their diet with some jackfruit, mangoes, mowha trees, flowers, ebony, golden shower tree, wood apples, honeycomb, and sugar cane.
Sloth bears generally move in pairs. Adult males do take care of their cubs. Sloth bears are expert climbers but they climb only to eat or to get some sleep. That is, sloth bears never climb to escape predators. They are brave enough to face the land predators.
They are equally good swimmers too. Young sloth bears often play in water. They do not hibernate.
Sloth bears will utter a range of different sounds such as whickers, yelp, screams, barks, snarls, roars, shriek, grunt, whimper, yowl, and woofs.
They are thought to forage at night in search of insects. Sloth bears use their powerful claws to get into the nest mounds.
The mating season occurs in April to June. Sows (females) give birth to 1 to 2 cubs after a gestation period of 210 days. Sows carry young bears on their backs—probably the only bear to do that.
Sloth bears can live as long as 40 years in the wild but the average lifespan is about 26 to 29 years.
While its population is comparatively stable the sloth bears are mostly losing grounds to the habitat loss.