If you thought ‘Winnie the Pooh’ was a pro honey snatcher, you should meet nature’s true honey bear.
The Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus).
With their cartoonishly long tongues and extremely impressive claws, these small omnivores (smallest in the bear family, in fact) are well equipped for extracting honey from bee nests. And like little ol’ Pooh Bear, the sun bear also loves to nap. . . Because even getting that last bit of honey can be quite an exhausting task . Here is a short clip of sleepy sun bear that just can’t quite finish the job.
- Sun bears grow to be about half the size of an American black bear.
- Named after the bib-shaped golden or white patch on their chest, the legend says the sun bear holds the rising sun on its chest.
- Contrary to its name, this bear is actually nocturnal-or most active at night.
- The Malay words for the sun bear translates to ‘he who likes to sit high,’ which is quite fitting for this tree loving bear.
- Although nicknamed the honey bear, sun bears also enjoy eating fruits, berries, roots, insects, lizards, termites, and rodents.
- Sadly, there is little data on the species to determine if they are in danger of extinction due to their remote habitat and elusive behavior.
- However, like so many Asian species, habitat destruction, poaching for Chinese medicine, human-wildlife conflicts, and the pet trade (mothers are often killed to capture babies) are all leading scientists to believe that the sun bear’s population is declining much quicker than we think.
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What is your favorite bear species?
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Until next time my friends, this is Ms. Mallory inviting you to . . .