Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus)

Bear Facts

Photo courtesy of Wildlife Trust of India

  • These bears were originally called Bear Sloths as when they were first seen by Europeans they were thought to be related to a Sloth.
  • They live in India/Nepal.
  • They enjoy company and adult bears are often seen together.
  • They usually rest during the day and are active at night.
  • Their numbers are unknown but it is thought that there may be less than 10,000.
  • They are hunted for their gall bladder and are used as dancing bears.
  • They don’t have any front teeth and their upper palate is hollow.
  • Sloth bears suck out termites from their mud homes like a vacuum cleaner. They have the useful ability to ‘close’ their nostrils to stop the insects crawling up their nose. The lower lip can be stretched over the outer edge of their nose. They make a great deal of noise that can be heard from quite a distance!
  • They are very shaggy bears with long hair around the back of the head and on their neck.
  • Their lifespan in the wild is around 30 years.
  • CITES Appendix 1.