Sun Bear on branch

Sun bear

Tree hugger
giant panda


Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Endangered Status



3.5 to 4.5
length, in feet, as adults
The average bed is 6.25 feet long.
Size of a sunbear compared to a bed

Adult sun bears weigh between 60 and 145 pounds. Males are bigger than females.

honey, and meat

Other food choices include small birds, fruit, honey, lizards, rodents, and soft parts of palm trees.



Sun bear making noise

Listen up!

Sun bears use different sounds to communication. Adult bears make a clucking noise, like the sound of a hen, which is a typical , friendly contact call. Aggressive sun bears can bark, growl, and roar, not unlike other bears. Cubs hum while nursing and squawk or cry when in need of their mother’s attention.

Sun bear cub humming
Sun bear with marking.

Little but mighty

The sun bear might be the smallest of the eight bear species, but it is still a powerful animal! Its bite is strong enough to tear through tree bark, and long, 4-inch claws are good tools for climbing. Its name comes from the white or yellowish curved marking on its chest, which many people think looks like the rising or setting sun. Each bear’s crest is individual—like our fingerprints.

sun bear with tounge out

What's your name?

Sun bears have several nicknames. They are called "dog-face bear,” “Malay bear,” and, "honey bear." That last one is probably because of their super long tongue that can easily get at honey and insects inside trees and other tight places. 

Sun bear in tree

Life in the trees

Sun bears spend much of their time in trees. Their small size helps them move easily through the branches—they even build sleeping platforms up there! Trees are such a big part of their life that, in the Malay language, the sun bear is called basindo nan tenggil, which means “he who likes to sit high.”