Sloth bears live in the tropical forests, scrublands and grasslands of south Asia; countries such as Sri Lanka, Indian and Nepal. They are smaller than brown or polar bears, with long shaggy black fur.
Sloth bears are omnivorous and eat a range of fruit, nuts, insects, eggs and plants. They use their long claws to dig into the mounds and nests of ants and termites, and sucking them out through the gap in their front teeth.
They are also very fond of honey, and can be called “honey bears”.
A sloth bear’s keen sense of smell and excellent tree climbing ability help them to make the most of all of the different types of food available to them.
While sloth bears are mostly nocturnal; moving at night and sleeping in caves during the day. They do not hibernate, probably due to their habitats being in warm, lowland areas that do not experience such dramatic seasonal changes.
They are very shy and prefer areas that are far away from human beings.
Let’s create our own sloth bear:
- Print or trace the sloth bear template found on this page.
- Cut along the black lines.
- Fold along the dotted lines.
- Glue the bear’s collar between its front legs and glue the bear’s tail to its back legs.
- Decorate your bear using feathers, leaves or colouring pencils. Don’t forget the extremely furry ears.
Sloth bears are classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List with a decreasing population due to habitat loss and poaching.
Discover more about sloth bears here:
This craft was created as part of Year of Culture: India Unboxed in 2017. Explore some of the objects and specimens from University of Cambridge Museum collections that connect Cambridge to India and beyond: India Unboxed object stories, a YouTube playlist