Skip to main content

You are here

Sun Bear

Bear hands!

Download fact sheet (0.28MB PDF)

Sun bears shove their furred paws right into termite mounds and then gobble up the defending ants that swarm out.

Description: Sun Bears have very short, smooth fur that varies from black to grey. They get the name ‘Sun Bear’ from the yellow rising-sun-shaped patch on their chest. Sun Bears have very long, curved claws which are helpful in tree climbing and extracting food from logs.

Diet: Sun Bears are omnivores and eat a range of fruit, eggs, honey, grubs, small mammals and shoots.

In the wild: Very little is actually known about Sun Bears in the wild because they are difficult to track and observe. They are mostly nocturnal and spend the day sleeping and sunbathing in trees. Unlike other bears, Sun Bears do not hibernate. This is because food is available all year round.

Threats: Habitat destruction and poaching are major threats to the Sun Bear. Bear paw soup is a delicacy in some Asian cultures. Restaurants keep the bears in small cages in cruel conditions and their paws are cut off to make the soup.

Saving Wildlife Together: With your support we’re working with Free the Bears to fund research programs for Sun Bears in Southeast Asia, assisting protection and conservation activity in the wild.

Find out how you can help.

At Perth Zoo: Perth Zoo’s Project Sun Bear campaign raised over $330,000 to help build a new home at Perth Zoo for two rescued Sun Bears from Cambodia. They can be seen in the Asian Rainforest. 

Did you know?

Sun Bears have a very long tongue that can protrude up to 25 cm. They use their tongue to extract grubs, honey and other food from holes and crevices. The bear will also put its paws into termites’ nests. When the termites crawl onto the bear’s paws, they are licked off.

Asian Rainforest
Other name
Malayan Sun Bear, Dog Bear, Honey Bear
Scientific name
Helarctos malayanus
Conservation status
Body length
1.1–1.4 m
50–65 kg
96 days
Number of young
South-east Asia
Tropical and lowland forest

From the blog

Where you can find me

Where you can find me

Map of Perth Zoo highlighting the Asian Rainforest