By PAULA PAULINO, age 9

Sun bears are omnivores and eat honey, fruits, insects, small mammals and vegetables. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons
Sun bears are omnivores and eat honey, fruits, insects, small mammals and vegetables. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

The sun bear is the smallest of all the bear species. Sun bears are called “dog bears” because their ears and muzzles resemble a dog’s, and they are called “honey bears” because they love to eat honey, which they get by bravely raiding beehives. They live in several Southeast Asian countries, including Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma.

These bears have a bright orange horseshoe-shaped marking on their chest, and the rest of their fur is black. They are omnivores and in addition to honey they tend to eat fruits, insects, small mammals and vegetables.

Sun bears are under threat in many ways. Often, the cubs are wanted for pets. Also, their habitat is being destroyed for agriculture. Sun bears are hunted to be used in folk medicine and expensive soups in popular restaurants.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The sun bear’s tongue is 7.9 to 9.8 inches long. It helps them catch insects and scoop honey.
  • The life span of a sun bear is about 25 years.
  • In addition to humans, tigers and wildcats are predators of sun bears.
  • Since their habitat is warm year-round, sun bears don’t need to hibernate and can mate at any time of the year.