usa | world | animals | vocabulary | health | science | math | history


The Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is a nocturnal bear with shaggy fur. It inhabits the lowland forests of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.


 


Just the Facts: Their bodies are covered in long fur which can range from auburn to black, and have a whitish snout and black nose. The snout is long, with bare lips and lacking in upper incisors.

These are adaptations for their insect-based diet. The front feet are turned inwards and have non-retractable, curved ivory claws that are adapted for digging. It has a distinctive "V" shaped white mark on the chest.

Weights and Measures: The males are larger than the females. Males can reach a height of 6 feet (1.8 m) and weight of 300 pounds (140 kg).


Speedy Sloth: The Sloth bear does not move as slowly as the Sloth, and can easily outrun a human. One theory has it that early explorers saw these bears lying upside down in trees and gave them their common name of Sloth bear. Another claims that the Sloth bear gets its name because its normal walk is more of a meandering shuffle. Its pugmarks are also very similar to a human footprint.

Insects for Dinner: They primarily eat ants and termites. If needed, they can also eat honey, eggs, birds, flowers, tubers, fruits, grains and meat.

Home and Habitat: They are found in a variety of habitat - from dry grassland to evergreen forests - but have a preference for tropical deciduous forests. Within that category, Sloth bear prefer dry deciduous forests and rocky outcrops to wet deciduous forests.


Conservation: Loss of this habitat and fragmentation of available habitat are the primary threats to the survival of bear in the Indian subcontinent. Their primary predators are leopards, wolves, tigers and humans, though they can defend themselves quite well with their claws. Humans hunt them primarily for their gall bladders, which are valued in eastern medicine. The Sloth bear is also used for entertainment, known in circuses as a "dancing bear".

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

   
 


 Kingdom: Animalia

 Phylum: Chordata

 Class: Mammalia

 Order: Carnivora

 Family: Ursidae

 Genus: Melursus

 Species: Ursinus