Sloth Bear

Sloth Bear        Ursus ursinus

Type of Animal:

Grassland, tropical forest, rocky outcroppings, scrubland, savanna, upland forest, thorn forest

Much of India avoiding deserts/high mountainous areas & Sri Lanka plus small pockets in Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, & Pakistan

Black & shaggy w/ white moon-shape on chest resembling larger Asian Black Bear, smaller/lankier than Asian Black Bear, larger than Sun Bear (smallest bear in world), prominent mane on face, pale muzzle, very sharp white claws for digging, has shaggy fur similar to sloth.

Ants, termites, beetles, grubs, carrion, fruit, berries, grasses, flowers, seed pods, honey, eggs, insect larvae, bees, wasps, roots, tubers, corn, yams, sugarcane, veggies, small rodents, small birds, lizards

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife parks

Solitary or male-female pairs

Additional Info:


Male-175-310 lbs
Female-120-210 lbs
Young-5-6 lbs

6-7 months

Male-3 ft
Female-2.5 ft

Body Length:
Male-6 ft
Female-5 ft

Life Span: 
20 years in wild, up to 40 years in captivity

Tail Length:
2.76-4.8 in

Main predators of adults are tigers & leopards. Wolves, dholes, male black bears, & large pythons prey on cubs.

Threatened due to persecution as crop pest/dangerous animal, poaching for gall bladders/other body parts for traditional medicine, logging/deforestation, habitat loss, hunting for sport/meat, & capturing of cubs for use in bear baiting/circuses/bear dancing, resulting in mothers getting killed.

Territory marked w/ claw-markings & urine.

Due to habitat they live in, they don’t hibernate.

Only bear species in which cubs ride on mom’s back.

Actual fighting is rather rare among this species w/ most competition being nonphysical.

Males often play no parental role & kill cubs that are not their own if given the chance to put female back into heat.

Sexually mature at 3 years old.

Cubs live w/ mom for up to 2.5 years.

In seasonal areas, they usually breed during the April-August hot season.

This bear is quite noisy at night, using its tongue to lap up insects.

Fun Fact(s):
While they may look slow, they can run faster than a human.

Though not predatory, aggressive/unpredictable temperament very common in this species. Females highly protective of cubs. In many areas they’re more feared than tigers. This is especially due to tendency to attack w/ claws/teeth when surprised. Many stories of wounded bears severely mauling hunters.

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