Sloth bear

Melursus ursinus

Sloth bears.

In general Sloth bears are known to be aggressive, but that is a unfair description of the sloth bear. They are also are on the red list, or are endangered.



Domain Eukareya is the domain that the sloth bear belongs to
  • Everything in Domain multi-cellular
  • It is also the biggest domain of the three domain types


The sloth bears belong to Kingdom Amelia.

  • This kingdom is for all multi-cellular animals.


The sloth bear belongs to Phylum Chordata.

  • Phylum Chordata has has a completed digestive system.
  • Exoskeletons are bony, cartilaginous, and are usually present.
  • A tail usually sticks out above the anus at some stage of growth.


The sloth bear belongs to the Subphylum Vertebrata.

  • Subphylum Vertebrata has endoskeleton consisting of visceral arches, cranium, limb gurdles, and 2 pairs of appendages.
  • Perforated, muscular pharynx.
  • Muscles provide movement while attached to the endoskeleton.


The sloth bear belongs to the Class Mammalia.

  • Class Mammalia has hair on mammals show up at some point
  • Adults lose most of their hair
  • Most mammals have hair their entire lives


The sloth bear belongs to the Order Carnivora.

  • Order Carnivora is all carnivores.
  • Carnivores are animals that hunt and eat meat.


The Soth bears belong to Family Ursidae.

  • This family is bears.
  • Bears are strong and powerful animals with a high intelligence.


The sloth bears are in the Genus Melursus.

  • In the Genus Melursus is sloth bears. They are the only animal with this genus.
  • Unique among the bear family as their primary food source is termites.


The species that the Sloth bear belongs to is Ursinus. In Species Ursinus there is

  • Sloth bear. They are also known as Stickney bear or labiated bear.
  • The bears differ in appearance based on geography.

Physical description


The sloth bears fur is black or blackish brown, with a dirty white muzzle. They can also have a white and sometimes brown U or V shape on there chest. They also have nails that can grow to 3 inches. The claws can not retract like felines, so they look funny while walking. They also have long fur that will allow cubs to cling onto there mothers back. They will also raise themselves up to smell danger. Bears are nocturnal and they have excellent sense of smell but poor eyesight and hearing. They are not naturally aggressive, and their poor eyesight and hearing allows humans to get close before the sloth bear starts to defend itself. They are good climbers, but they rarely climb to get out of danger.


Sloth bears can grow to be 26 to 32 inches tall or 65 to 80 centimeters tall measuring to shoulder height. They can be almost as tall as a grown man when walking on their hind legs.


Some Sloth bears can grow to be as heavy as 330 pounds or 150 Kilograms. Females Are smaller, but have more fur than males. They are considerably smaller that the North American black bear.

Daily life

Natural range

The sloth bears can be found in


  • Sri lanka

And further north into

  • Bangladesh
  • Nepal
  • Bhutan.


Sloth bears live in tropical areas, forests, and grasslands. Frequently found at lower elevations and seem to prefer drier forest and areas with rocky outcrops. Sloth bears are very shy and typically run away from humans. Their habitat is being destroyed by humans and they are current vulnerable to extinction. Their main food source of termites is also under stress leading to greater incidents of starvation among the wild sloth bear populations.


Sloth bears only fear attack from

  • tigers
  • leopards
  • sometimes humans

Cubs will stay in their caves at night to avoid these predators. Humans do not hunt sloth bears for food rather as a means to protect their farmland.


Sloth bears are omnivores, they eat large portions of honey, fruits, flowers, and leaves in addition to their favorite food of termites. During March and June, they eat more fruits and flowers because they are blooming. They prefer to eat termites. They insert their long snouts into the nest, rip open the nest with there long claws, blow away the earth and dust, and then feast on the termites.


Physical adaptations

The sloth bear has long blackish brownish hair. The long hair helps protect them from termite bites and helps cubs ride on their moms' back. They have 3 inch long claws to help them rip apart termite nests which helps them get to their main meal, termites. They are also nocturnal, unlike one of their predators, humans. Humans are inactive during the night, taking one more thing off their mind. They also have great smell, but they can't hear or see well. This helps them during their nocturnal hours because they don't need to see in the dark because. In the dark, you can't see much anyway. They also have a long snout and long tongue, but have small front teeth. To eat termites, they make a vacuum to suck the insects.

Behavioral adaptations

Sloth bears have learned to hide while predators are active to avoid being eaten. They have also learned to raise themselves up on their hind legs to look and smell for danger. This allows them to see farther around them and warn themselves of approaching predators. The sloth bear has also modified its behavior to flee at approach of danger unless cornered when they will attack with their 3 inch claws or bite with their sharp teeth. Sloth bears are mainly nocturnal. Their sense of smell is well developed but their sight and hearing are poor. Their highly developed sense of smell lets them find their way around and smell danger. During feeding, the sloth bear has adapted its snout to be long and slender. They use their snout as the primary method to attack termite nests which is the main food source. This makes an effective way to get to the termites and eat them. It also makes feeding more efficient. In addition, the nostrils have adapted to close completely shut in order to avoid the insects attacking their snout. Plus, when the sloth bear rips the nest apart, it generates a lot of dust. By adapting their nostrils, they are able to avoid inhaling large amount of dust or insects.

Work sited

Bies, L. 2002. "Melursus ursinus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at

Burton, M., & Burton, R. (2002). Sloth bear. In International wildlife encyclopedia (3rd ed., Vol. 17, pp. 2403-2405). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Melursus ursinus. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Sloth bears. (2006). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from

Sloth bears. (2015). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from