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Sloth bear

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Sloth bear
Temporal range: late Pliocene to early Pleistocene – Recent
Sloth bear
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Melursus ursinus

The sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is a bear that lives in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.


Sloth bears have long and shaggy black fur, but its fur can also be brown. On its chest it has a white or yellow mark, which is shaped like an Y or V. They have big feet with long claws. The long claws are also the reason for its English name, because the claws look like the claws of a xloth.


Sloth bears are omnivores and eats mostly termites and ants. But they also eat fruit, honey, eggs, carrion, grasses and occasionally rodents. Sloth bears use their claws to dig up ants from the dirt. They also use their claws to fight predators such as tigers, leopards and jackals. Bengal tigers prey on sloth bears of all ages. Indian leopards, dholes and Indian wolves may also be a threat.

Female sloth bears usually have 1-2 babies, sometimes 3. Young sloth bears stay with their mother for 2–3 years. In captivity they can live to be 40 years old.

Sloth bear adults can weigh anywhere from 60-70 kilograms (120-130 pounds) and measure anywhere from 152-178 centimeters (60-70 inches) in length.

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