Sloth bears generally move in pairs. Sloth bears sometimes attack humans that encroach on their territory. Diving into the surf might help you get away from a swarm of bees if you're at the beach. The gestation period for the species is around six or seven months, after which the female will give birth in a den, usually to two young. The breeding season for sloth bears varies according to location. Educational Activities You Can Do at Home, About the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Sloth Bears Recognize 2D Images as Representations of 3D Objects Smithsonian’s National Zoo Cognition Study Finds. This article will answer common questions about sloths such as What do sloths eat?. They knock beehives out of trees and eat the honey and bee larvae. While it might have a bear of an appetite, the sloth bear has more in common with an anteater than other bears. Adopt a red panda to give the perfect gift to the animal lover in your life — even if that animal lover is you! Sloth bears breed during spring and early summer and give birth near the beginning of winter. Sloth bears climb trees and knock down honeycombs, later collecting the honey from the forest floor. They are hunted by locals who believe they will eat their livestock, even though these bears do not eat large amounts of meat. It is this habit that’s given rise to their nickname, honey bears. Washington, DC 20013. Today, most of the dancing bears have been rescued thanks to organizations like Wildlife SOS and WSPA-Wildlife Trust of India. Beside sloths, they hunt and eat … They also feed on fruits, roots, tubers, honey, eggs and flowers. There are several reasons why. Fifty-three percent of males and 38 percent of females die as cubs. To prevent termites and ants from crawling into their noses to defend their nests, the sloth bear’s nostrils can close tightly as a barrier. How to take care? In Pakistan, some people participate in "bear-baiting," the practice of having bears fight dogs. Sloth bears primarily eat termites and ants, and unlike other bear species, they routinely carry their cubs on their backs. This name comes from Latin, and it literally means "leaf-eater"; this mammal basically eats leaves, flowers and tender stalks. They are born weighing about 1 pound (2 kilograms), open their eyes at about 2 to 3 weeks old and start to "walk" around 4 weeks. … They grow up to 6 feet in length, and males can weigh up to 310 pounds, while females weigh up to 210 pounds. Sloth bears grow 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 2 meters) long, stand 2 to 3 feet (0.5 to 1 meters) high at the shoulder, and weigh, on average, 200 to 300 pounds (90 to 140 kilograms). Their range includes India, Sri Lanka and southern Nepal. They could feed however from over 50 different kinds of tree in the tropical rainforests of Am… The bears use their long, curved claws to rip open the termite mounds and slurp up the insects. While it’s debated whether or not wolves actively hunt down bears and eat them, bear fur has been found in wolf scat on… If threatened, they will stand on two legs, brandishing their clawed forepaws as weapons. They are also known to scale the occasional tree to knock down a bee honeycomb, which they will then enjoy on the ground below. They can get their food without leaving their homes - that is, the canopies of the tree they have chosen to live in. Male Sloth Bears have a shoulder height between 2’6”-3’ (.76-.91 m) and a … When the rope is pulled, the bear stands up in pain and "dances." Sloth Bear 1. They have a strong jaw for crushing and biting, and large front paws with long claws for tearing and digging. Sloth bears are solitary creatures and generally nocturnal. Sloth bears live in a variety of dry and moist forests and in some tall grasslands, where boulders, scattered shrubs and trees provide shelter. They wear an extremely shaggy black coat and a cream-colored snout, and their chest is usually marked with a whitish “V” or “Y” design. However, no reliable large-scale population survey has been conducted. Sloth bears are poached from India and smuggled over the border for this practice. Sloth Bears photos The lazy bear (Melusus Ursinus), also known as the spearhead bear, is a predominantly bear insect species of the Indian subcontinent. They also receive treats as enrichment, such as mealworms, crickets, nuts, coconut and honey. Beetles, grubs and … MRC 5516 The sloth bear has very large claws with which they can easily open termite and ant hills. Shop smart too! Their shaggy fur does not have an undercoat, so it keeps them relatively cool in their native, warm climate and protects them from tropical insects. Appearance & Characteristics 5. What does a sloth bear eat? The sloth bear is an omnivore, eating insects, fruit, and carrion. We hope you will join us in this important work. The shaggy-coated sloth bear is native to India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Sloth bears are omnivorous, although their diet typically includes a large proportion of insect foods. You'll learn even more and share the importance of saving species with classmates and teachers, too. These bears adapt their sleep-wake cycle to their environment and may be on a nocturnal, diurnal or crepuscular schedule depending on how many other bears, people or predators share their habitat. After a six- to seven-month gestation period sloth bears normally give birth to a litter of two cubs in an underground den. The sloth bear is usually most active at night, and they usually don't need or prefer the company of other sloth bears. As an adaptation for this creepy-crawly diet, the bear has few hairs on its nose and can open and close its nostrils as needed. They also eat honey, sugarcane, flowers, fruits, eggs, and carrion. In addition to insects, Sloth Bears eat a wide variety of flowers and fruits including mango, fig, and ebony. Poachers kill bears to harvest their gall bladders and other parts for use in traditional Asian medicine. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/s/sloth-bear.html. Their diet includes leaves, honey, flowers, and fruits. They rarely prey on other mammals, but they are considered omnivores. A cream-colored “V” or “Y” shape usually marks their chests. Emitting noisy grunts and snorts, it wanders alone, usually at night, in search of insects and fresh fruit. Even when our gates are closed, we are still here, working as always to save species. It is estimated that their population has declined by 30 to 49 percent in the last 30 years primarily due to habitat loss, but also because of poaching for parts, capture for trade and elimination as pests. Termites are an especially abundant and reliable food source in the tropics. Now more than ever, we need your support. Termites are their favorite food, and they use their keen sense of smell to locate termite mounds. In the process of poaching the cubs, the mother bear is killed. Many other animals that primarily consume ants also carry their young on their backs. During food shortages, sloth bears will eat carrion. Cubs will nurse for about a year. Adult males do take care of their cubs. During non-fruiting season, insects constitute 95 percent of a sloth bear's diet. They may fight for food. Finding lantana (Lantana camara) berries in sloth bear faeces isn’t new. Sloth Bears also feed on honey, eggs, carrion, vegetation and fruits. Sustaining threatened wild sloth bear populations can be achieved only with a comprehensive understanding of their ecological and behavioral needs. Running the other way would be a good idea. They have a keen sense of smell, as well as near-sight similar to that of humans. Beyond insects, sloth bears feast on a variety of fruit and flowers, including mango, fig, and ebony. To do so, they close their nostrils and use their lips like a vacuum nozzle. Sloth bears are usually solitary, except during the breeding season and when raising young. One of the most widespread misconceptions about bears is that they hibernate. Sloth bears exhibit low fecundity and high infant mortality. Half the sloth bear's diet is termites, ants and beetle larvae. They also take other insects and fruits, favorites being mangoes, figs, ebony fruits and jack-fruit. Bear Facts: Do Bears Hibernate? The sloth bear, Ursus ursinus, also known as the Stickney bear or labiated bear, is a nocturnal insectivorous species of bears found wild within the Indian Subcontinent.The sloth bear evolved from ancestral brown bears during the Pleistocene and shares features found in insect-eating mammals through convergent evolution. They love their occasional meat tidbits of course but thrive mostly on ants, insects, fruits and wild berries. On the list of predators of sloths, panthers make our list. Asia Trail is home to a male sloth bear named Niko. Make it the topic of your next school project, or start a conservation club at your school. Currently, Zoo scientists are also studying the behavior, welfare and cognitive abilities of sloth bears in human care. Sloth bears are omnivorous, eating both plants and meat. During the months of March through June, fruits are more common and on occasion may make up 50% of these bears' diet. In the North American zoo population, births generally occur in late December to early January. Sloths are considered as the slowest mammals, and this is attributed to their meager metabolic rates. At the Zoo, they tend to keep a crepuscular schedule, meaning they are active in both the morning and evening but sleep midday and overnight. Termites, dug out of their cement-hard nest mounds, and some ants are year-round staples. Their diets in some areas also comprise an unlikely berry: tiny, blue-black lantana fruits. What would you do if you encountered a sloth of bears, a bask of crocodiles or a quiver of cobras? When trees are in fruit, usually during the monsoon season, sloth bears dine on mango, fig, ebony and other fruits, as well as on flowers. The cubs will often ride on their mother’s back, a unique trait among bears. They occasionally will climb to feed and to rest, though not to escape enemies, as they prefer to stand their ground. Sloth Bears: They Eat Ants, but Take on Tigers Still used as “dancing bears,” they can hold their own with the big cats but not with human expansion This practice of capturing sloth bears to be used as dancing bears may still take place in neighboring countries. They have a sweet tooth as well so the Sloth Bear can be found eating honey, sugarcane, and yams. They walk in a slow, shambling motion, with their feet being set down in a noisy, flapping motion. As animals who consume termites and ants, sloth bears are considered myrmecophagous. Sloth bear mothers carry their cubs … Although they appear slow and clumsy, both young and adult sloth bears are excellent climbers. Shaggy, dusty, and unkempt, the reclusive sloth bear makes its home in the forests of South Asia. Sloths mostly feed on buds, leaves, and tender shoots. They are threatened by habitat loss and are sometimes captured for use in performances or hunted because of their aggressive behavior and destruction of crops. Time and additional specimens eventually revealed the true taxonomic relationships, but the confusing common name remains. Diet of the Sloth Bear This species feeds primarily on insects, and scientists consider them insectivores. The bears have a very good sense of smell and poor eyesight, so they hunt using their noses to sniff out food. Practice ecotourism by being an advocate for the environment when you’re on vacation. However, during the wet season, they will climb high into the branches of trees to gather fruits, flowers and honeycombs. Sloth bears eat honey combs. Even though it is omnivorous and dines on fruit when available, the sloth bear also eats termites and ants. The bears can do a lot of damage to cocoa plantations and coconut palms when they forage for food there. Wild – Sloth Bears are insectivorous, specializing in termites. But then you might enounter a smack of jellyfish or shiver of sharks. They are equally good swimmers too. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media. We will also discuss some amazing facts about this slow moving animal. They grunt and snort as they pull down branches to get fruit, dig for termites and ants, or snuffle under debris for grubs and beetles. The Smithsonian's National Zoo's sloth bears eat a dry-food mixture designed for omnivores, plus fruits and vegetables, such as apples, sweet potatoes and grapes. However, their diet is mostly termites and ants that they suck out of their nests, making very loud snuffling noises as they do so. History 2. Occasionally they will eat the remains of a tiger kill. Sloth bears are typically active for about eight to 14 hours each day, and they do not hibernate. All rights reserved. Studies It is thought that their feet are turned inward to increase digging efficiency. Historically, sloth bears have also been reported in Bangladesh and Bhutan, but it is unclear whether sloth bears are still present in the wild of these countries. In Sri Lanka, however, there is no seasonality to sloth bear breeding. Sloth Bears live in forests, grasslands, thorny woodlands and wet tropical areas, but their habitat is being destroyed and the bears are endangered. During your travels, support, visit or volunteer with organizations that protect wildlife. Sloth bears are expert climbers but they climb only to eat or to get some sleep. He called it Ursine bradypus, ursine meaning bearlike and bradypus meaning slow foot. They are capable of galloping faster than running humans. The cubs spend their first three months in the safety of the den … The first valid scientific description of this species was by George Shaw in 1791. Beyond insects, sloth bears feast on a variety of fruit and flowers, including mango, fig, and ebony. Panther. The Sloth bear is a myrmecophagous bear species native to the Indian subcontinent. The population of Spectacled Bears is under threat for a number of reasons. They evolved from old brown bears during the Pleistocene period and have insect-eating mammals like features. The Zoopendous Summer Interns’ Guide to D.C. 8 Aww-Inspiring Videos of the Year’s Best Animal and Conservation Stories. At the Zoo, they are offered food at least three times daily: a large morning meal, a large evening meal and one or more snacks throughout the day. Spectacled Bears are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species. The bile from their gall bladders is used in shampoo, eye drops, wine and medicine thought to cure liver disease and heart disease, improve eyesight and decrease high blood pressure. Bear bile sells on the black market at $2 million for 5 kilograms. Did you love what you learned about this animal? Coat & colors 6. Bradypus is also the genus of three species of sloth. Adult sloth bears may travel in pairs. Zoo scientists have engaged in a wide-ranging set of studies in support of the conservation of endangered sloth bears in the wild. One or two cubs (rarely three) are born in each litter in an underground den. Mating occurs over several days to weeks and is very noisy. How We Look: We are 60–92 cm high at the shoulder and have a body length of 1.4–1.9 m. Farmers also sometimes kill bears that raid their sugarcane or cornfields. Habitat is being transformed into human settlements, agriculture, plantations of teak and eucalyptus, and fuel wood and timber. Different names or Types 4. Until recently, approximately 100 cubs were taken from the wild annually for this purpose. Sloth Bears are also called Labiated bears. Beetles, grubs and other insects round out their diet. Other potential predators include jackals, wild dogs, wolves, leopards and other Asian bear species. These organizations provide education and career training for tribe members in exchange for giving up their bears and agreeing to never again poach wildlife, thus ensuring a better life for both the humans and the bears. They also eat fruit and flowers, including figs and mango. Sloth Bear Reproduction. Personality and temperament 7. They primarily eat termites and ants and have also been called "labiated bears" because of their long lower lip and palate used for sucking insects. As animals who consume termites and ants, sloth bears are considered myrmecophagous. Specialized adaptationshelp them find their food. By becoming a member, you'll help the Zoo save species and get great benefits for you and your family each time you visit! In protected areas, for example, sloth bears may be more active during the day. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- She digs a den or prepares space in a cave. Males are often observed to be gentle with cubs. Their world was very different 100 years ago; extensive habitat remained, human settlements were scattered and relatively few bears were hunted. Sloths are classified as herbivores or folivores. When threatened they respond by standing on their hind legs and displaying their formidable foreclaws. That is, sloth bears never climb to escape predators. They are brave enough to face the land predators. Diet Mainly termites, ants and fruits. Are you a student? Sloth bears do not hibernate, but do have a period of inactivity during the rainy season. In fact, bears do not truly hibernate. Sloth bears climb trees and knock down honeycombs, later collecting the honey from the forest floor. The cubs' teeth are then removed, and a metal ring is inserted into their muzzle with a rope tied to the end. Termites, dug out of their cement-hard nest mounds, and some ants are year-round staples. As far back as the early 1970s, they studied sloth bears in the wild in Nepal. As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums will temporarily close. The same substance, ursodeoxycholic acid, can be produced in the laboratory, and this synthetic version has proven to be a safer and more humane alternative for medical use. Today, they inhabit one of the world's most crowded regions. 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