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Bornean Bear Pigs and Animals

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Sun Bear Food and Foraging

Helarctos Malayranus – the “Sun Bear” – is the smallest species of bear in the world. They grow to about 4 feet in length and have a very sleek and short black coat. They weigh around 100 pounds on average, and due to their stocky build they resemble large dogs, leading to the nickname the “Dog Bear”.

They get their Sun Bear name from a patch of hair on their chests. This patch of hair can be golden or white in colour and is shaped like a horseshoe. It is said to resemble the rising Sun. Despite this name, the Sun Bear is a nocturnal animal.

The Sun Bear lives in subtropical forests in both lowlands and highlands. They spend the majority of their lives resting or foraging in the trees in the island regions of Southeast Asia, including Borneo, Sumatra, Kampuchea as well as regions of Laos, Vietnam, Burma and South China. The Sun Bear does not hibernate because it lives in such warm conditions.

The average life expectancy of a Sun Bear is around 25 years, although bears living in captivity can live longer. Sun Bears will give birth to one or two cubs per year which will be born after a gestation period of 96 days. The cubs are suckled for about 18 months but might stay with their Mother for more than two years. Female Sun Bears reach sexual maturity at the age of three and the males at the age of four.

They search for their food in the tree tops or on the forest floor. They are omnivores whose diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetation and insects, as well as the occasional small bird or mammal. They have an unusually long and slender tongue that helps them to eat large numbers of insects, usually termites, or even extract the honey from bee nests.

Their foraging depends on their exceptional sense of smell because most Sun Bears are almost completely blind.

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