Malayan Sun Bear

The Malayan sun bear, also known as the “honey bear”, is a small bear species native to Southeast Asia. They are the smallest bear species in the world, with adults typically weighing between 60 and 145 pounds (27 to 66 kg) and measuring between 47 and 59 inches (120 to 150 cm) in length.

Malayan sun bears have short, sleek black fur, and a distinctive orange-yellow crescent-shaped patch on their chest, which varies in shape and size between individuals. They have short, powerful legs and sharp, curved claws, which they use to climb trees and dig for food.

Malayan Sun Bear

Serial No.CharacteristicsDescription
1Common NameMalayan sun bear
2Scientific NameHelarctos malayanus
3Length120-150 centimeters
4ColorShaggy black fur with a distinctive orange-yellow V
5Height/GirthHeight: up to 70 centimeters, Girth: up to 120 cm
6Tail lengthTail length: 3-7 centimeters
7Height till shoulderUp to 70 centimeters
8Average Weight27-80 kilograms
9Food HabitsOmnivorous, feeds on fruits, insects, and small animals
10HabitatSoutheast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia
11Interesting FactsThe Malayan sun bear is the smallest species of bear, and it has a long, protruding tongue that helps it to extract honey from beehives. It is also known as the “honey bear.”


The Malayan Sun Bear, also known as the Honey Bear, is the smallest of the bear species and is found in Southeast Asia. They have a distinctive black coat with a crescent-shaped patch of golden or orange fur on their chest. This gives them their nickname “Sun Bear,” as the patch is said to resemble the rising or setting sun.

Males and females of this species are similar in appearance, with males being slightly larger, measuring up to 1.5 metres in length and weighing up to 65 kg, while females can grow up to 1.3 metres in length and weigh up to 45 kg. The Malayan Sun Bear has small, rounded ears and short, powerful legs that are adapted for climbing trees.

One of the unique characteristics of the Malayan Sun Bear is its long, sharp claws, which are used for climbing and foraging for food, such as insects, honey, fruit, and small mammals. They have a long tongue, which they use to extract insects and honey from narrow crevices.

The Malayan Sun Bear is also known for its vocalisations, which include a wide range of sounds such as grunts, moans, and chirps. They have a keen sense of smell and can use their keen sense of smell to locate food and communicate with other bears.

Food Habits

The diet of the Malayan Sun Bear is varied, and they are known to be opportunistic feeders. Their diet includes insects, such as termites and ants, honey, fruit, small mammals, and occasionally birds and reptiles. They have a special preference for honey, which they can extract from hives using their long tongue and sharp claws.


The Malayan Sun Bear is primarily found in Southeast Asia, including countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar. In India, they are found in the Northeastern states such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya, where they inhabit the forested regions of the lower Himalayas.

The Malayan Sun Bear prefers to live in tropical rainforests, where there is ample vegetation and plenty of food sources such as insects, fruits, and small animals. They are also known to inhabit mangrove swamps, secondary forests, and plantations.

Vulnerable Species

The Malayan Sun Bear is considered to be vulnerable to extinction, with a decreasing population trend. In India, the exact number of Malayan Sun Bears is not known, as they are difficult to study and observe in the wild due to their elusive nature and habitat preference.

However, the population of Malayan Sun Bears in India is believed to be small, and they face several threats to their survival, including habitat loss due to deforestation and human development, as well as hunting and poaching for their meat, fur, and body parts.

The Malayan Sun Bear is also at risk of being caught in snares and traps set by hunters targeting other animals, as well as being killed in conflicts with humans over resources such as crops and livestock.

Protected Areas

There are no specific national parks in India that are known to have a significant population of Malayan Sun Bears. However, the species has been reported to inhabit forested regions in the Northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya.

These states have several protected areas, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, that are known to support a rich diversity of wildlife, including some endangered and threatened species. For example, Manas National Park in Assam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a biosphere reserve that supports a range of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, and several species of primates.

Other protected areas in the region that are known to support significant wildlife populations include Nameri National Park, Kaziranga National Park, and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Assam, Pakke Tiger Reserve and Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, and Balphakram National Park and Nokrek National Park in Meghalaya.

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