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  • Oso malayo en Zoo Aquarium de Madrid. Zoológico Madrid.
  • Oso malayo en Zoo Aquarium de Madrid. Zoológico Madrid.

Common name:

Sun bear

Scientific name:

Helarctos malayanus


60 kg


1.20 m
Rain forest



Who is it?

The sun bear is the smallest of the bears. Its anatomy and excellent adaption to the environment make it an excellent climber. That is why, and thanks to its claws, it can dig its long, sharp claws into the bark of trees, climbing to incredible places. Such is its preference for the arboreal life that it is difficult to observe an individual in its natural environment, given that it usually remains in the deepest forest.

It is a species threatened by habitat loss and hunting. Unfortunately it is still very little-known among the large mammals.

What are its habits?

This bear is nocturnal, it does not hibernate and it is characterised by being very cautious. What it most likes is to remain among the nests of twigs and leaves, sometimes high above the floor (it climbs as high as eight metres).

It uses its extended tongue to catch termites on which its omnivorous diet is mainly based.

The sexual maturity of the sun bear occurs at between three and four years of age. Breeding may occur in any season, and gestations lasts about 100 days. The one or two cubs that are born remain with their mother until they can look after themselves.

Did you know…

It gets along well with humans when young, but not as an adult: its character worsens over the years, which makes it a dangerous animal.


Children under 3 years free!