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sun bear

sun bear

Sun bear is the smallest bear species in the family Ursidae.

Sun Bear Definition

The sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), also called ”honey bear” is the smallest bear species in the family Ursidae (Ref.1), with a body length typically measures up to 120 cm to 150 cm and weight ranging from 27 kg to 65 kg. The adult males are larger than the females, about 10% to 20%. (Ref.2) Sun bears have a short black coat and a short muzzle in gray to faint orange in color. The white area often extends to the eye area. A lightly-colored U-shaped patch is present on the chest. (Ref.1,2)

Sun bears are omnivores. They feed on ants, termites, beetle larvae, bee larvae, fruits, and other vegetation. (Ref. 1) They also have a huge appetite for honey and honeycombs. They are excellent climbers. They are able to climb trees well by having sickle-shaped claws and naked soles. (Ref.1)

Sun bears are native to Southeast Asia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the species as Vulnerable in their Red List. (Ref.2)

For more photos and info on sun bears, especially their habitat, distribution, reproduction, and social system: see Sun Bear – Bears of the World.

Scientific classification:
• Kingdom: Animalia
• Phylum: Chordata
• Class: Mammalia
• Order: Carnivora
• Family: Ursidae
Scientific name: Helarctos malayanus

See also


  1. Helarctos malayanus (sun bear). (2020). Animal Diversity Web. https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Helarctos_malayanus/#conservation_status
  2. Sun Bear. (2017). International Association for Bear Research and Management. https://www.bearbiology.org/bear-species/sun-bear/

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