What Do Sun Bears Eat -Sun Bear Eating Habits

Sun Bears are friendly looking bears. However, do not be fooled by their friendly looks, as this bear is extremely aggressive! It will attack for no reason.

This makes the Sun bear feared by its prey and sometimes even its predators!

But What do they Eat? In This article we will see what Plants & Animals the friendly looking SunBear can eat.

What do Sun Bears Eat?

While sun bears are omnivore and have a mixed diet they mainly eat Honey, fruits, lizards, small rodents, small birds and insects.Sun bears also tend to eat a lot of fruit. Fruit is easy to access in their tropical rainforest habitat, sun bears live most of their life in the trees- exactly where most of the fruit is. Sun bears eat a lot of figs, and mainly eat them as a whole! They also eat bananas, oil palm, and coconuts.

Sometimes however, fruit becomes scarce. This is where being an omnivore really is an advantage for the honey bear, since now they can eat small animals, lizards, small birds or rodents.

These can be found easily in the rainforest by the sun bear therefore it does not need to do much hunting for these at all!

Be Warned, Sun Bears could easily rip through a human if provoked- though most of the time they are reclusive and shy. Residing mainly in South East Asia- they are the only breed of bear within the area.

In this article we will see What other common foods Sun bears can eat and If they are dangerous to People – or can even eat one!

Sun Bear Eating Habits

They are omnivores (although some class it as a carnivore), and usually do not eat anything like its size however, they may occasionally eat a deer. Furthermore, they have a huge tongue to extract honey from bee nests- therefore adapting the nickname of “honey bear”.

Sun Bears have a remarkably interesting diet then. They eat a lot of fruit as their habitats are mainly Tropical Rainforests within South-East Asia. They also can reach fruit, insects, small animals and honey easily since they spend majority of their life high up in the trees.

Some sun bears are nocturnal, meaning they mostly hunt for their prey at night (very ironic!). This could be a reason why sometimes they eat larger animals such as a deer. Other sun bears are like us, diurnal- hunting prey in the daytime.

What Do Baby Sun Bears Eat

Baby Sun Bears have a similar diet to adult Sun Bears. However, they eat a lot less as they don’t need as much energy therefore, less calories. Baby sun bears sometimes though, won’t eat small birds or rodents- since they can be too big for them. Instead, the “meat” they will mostly concentrate on is ants, bees and other insects.

What Do Indian Sun Bears Eat

Indian Sun Bears tend to live in Barak Valley. Very rarely will they live elsewhere such as the Himalayas. These bears tend to eat the staple diet, which a sun bear may eat (berries, insects, small birds etc).

However, since these bears do live with other animals, they may eat bigger animals like deer or larger reptiles.

The Sun Bear is quite a rare sight in India. Within India, the bear mostly resides in the north-eastern part of the country. These bears mainly have migrated to India from south eastern areas such as Malaysia or Borneo.

What Do Malayan Sun Bears Eat

Malayan Sun Bears is another name for sun bears. The bear gained this name, as they are a common sight within south eastern Asia (especially within Malaysia- hence the name!).

These bears eat the same  diet of birds, insects, rodents, fruit etc. They may eat more coconut oil since it is more easily available and maybe different fruits such as ones locally grown within the rainforests.

Sun Bears eat Insects,Plants,Fruit and Vegetables
Sun Bears eat Insects,Plants,Fruit and Vegetables

What Fruits, Plants & Animals Do Sun Bears eat?

Sun bears are omnivores. They eat plants, vegetables and meat. They live in areas with high flora and fauna; therefore, they have access to a lot of exotic vegetation. Sun Bears gain a lot of energy and nutrients through plants- but they need the meat for protein and muscle growth.

Do Sun Bears Eat Plants And Vegetables?

Sun bears eat plants and vegetables, as this is part of their staple diet. These bears are omnivores; therefore, plants and vegetables are compulsory within their diet.

Plants and vegetables give the bears vital vitamins and the nutrition it needs. However, the bear will tend to eat more fruit rather than plants and vegetables, since fruit is extremely easy to access.

These bears live throughout many countries in south-east Asia such as Cambodia, parts of India and Bangladesh, China and Malaysia. Therefore, the type of plants, fruit and vegetables will slightly vary.

Do Sun Bears Eat Meat?

Sun bears also eat meat. They are omnivores; therefore, they have the enzymes which can break down meat, and a strong jaw with flat molars, designed to crush and chew meat.

This means, when fruit, vegetables or plants are scarce; the sun bear can eat insects, small birds, small reptiles, rodents and in some cases deer and other similar sized animals.

A sun bear gets their proteins and other energy sources through meat. It is crucial for them as meat increases their strength and size. Furthermore, they don’t need to hibernate at all- since throughout winter (when vegetation growth is low), they can easily hunt their prey. However, only 5-10% of their diet is meat.

Do Sun Bears Eat Bees?

Sun Bears love to eat honey. They also love to eat the insects who make honey! It is a good source of protein for them, and usually the bear will eat many bees at one time since they usually attack hives.

The bees do sting the bear, but it never gets through the sun bears thick long fur- therefore, it does not penetrate the skin. Adult bees may be more protective and try sting the sun bear’s face- however, it is no match to the sun bear’s strength and long tongue which can easily scoop honey and bees from the hives.

The sun bear can easily find bees, by putting its paws into a tree- waiting for anything to climb onto it. Then the bear will use its long, rough, thick tongue to lick everything off.

Do Sun Bears Eat Honey?

Sun Bears eat a lot of honey! An amazing energy source for them! In fact, their tongue is adapted to lick out honey from hives, as it is long and thin. They also have large, razor sharp claws which they can use to rip open trees and search for wild bees and honey. Honey is also like a sweet treat for the bear- since it contains a lot of natural sugars. A quick energy boost then when the sun bear is out hunting.

Do Sun Bears Eat Coconuts?

Sun Bears also eat coconuts, as they are quite common within tropical rainforest habitats. They can easily break through them using their sharp claws and their ultimate strength, and by using their big, long tongue they can quickly lick and suck out all the contents.

Coconuts give the bears quick and easy energy- perfect for when it is hunting for prey, or when it is being hunted by predators! A coconut can be very nutritious and contain good proteins. There is the milk and other parts of the refreshing fruit, which is especially useful for the bears digestive system.

Do Sun Bears Eat Ants?

Sun bears eat ants mostly when other food options are scarce. Ants are a good source of protein, and they can easily be consumed in masses by the honey bear! Ants are quite easy to find, as they are everywhere! On the trees, the ground, everywhere! A tiny ant is no match for a huge 5 ft bear; therefore, the sun bear can eat loads in one go, hassle free!

Do Sun Bears Eat Grass?

Sun Bears only eat grass when other vegetation is scarce. Grass is not as nutritious nor as tasty as other vegetation. Grass is extremely easy for the bears to find; however grassy areas sometimes may be inhabited by other predators such as lions.

Do Sun Bears Eat Fish?

Sun bears rarely eat fish. Although in tropical environments, there are a lot of fish around areas near water, the bears tend to not prey on fish since it can be near other predators.

Sun bears spend most of their lives up in the trees, therefore they are unlikely to have regular contact with fish. The only reason a sun bear may eat a fish, is if other foods are scarce- this is survival instinct. Their body is not adapted as such to catch fish and look for fish, since these bears spend most of their lives up in the trees.


Sun Bears And People

Sun Bears mainly want to avoid humans as much as possible. They are hunted heavily by humans within south-east Asia, and their habitats are constantly being destroyed. However, Sun Bears can attack humans. Sun Bears are strong and have large claws, which can easily grip onto things and tear open anything!

Do Sun Bears Eat People?

Sun bears do not usually eat people as Humans are too big for sun bears to eat and prey on. Furthermore, a Sun Bear will probably not have the enzymes to eat humans- since we are not their natural prey.

Therefore, in some cases, eating humans may make the sun bear terribly ill.

Do Sun Bears Attack Humans?

Sun bears can attack a human. Easily. Although, these bears are very shy and reclusive- and they do not want to interact with humans at all, they can attack unannounced.

Just when you think these sun bears are calm, they can become ferocious and fiery! Using their sharp, long claws and their daunting weight and super strength, they could easily topple over the strongest humans!

They will also attack if provoked- especially when they are with their cubs. These creatures are very defensive and like to keep themselves safe from predators or anything which may harm them or their cubs.

Can Sun bears Kill You?

Yes. Very easily! Once you get into a fight with a sun bear, you will be incredibly lucky to come out alive! They first can tear you open easily with their razor claws, ripping out your insides! If that does not happen, they will just use their weight to pin you to the ground which can result in broken bones- particularly within the neck area!

Sun Bears have deadly tempers! They are aggressive and they will stand their ground! Even if you try to run, these bears will catch you up and demolish you!

They will not eat you as such but will most likely leave you bleeding to death- ready to be eaten by a python or a tiger!

Sun Bears have incredibly Long Tongues to Scoop out Insects and Honey out from Trees
Sun Bears have incredibly Long Tongues to Scoop out Insects and Honey out from Trees

Related Questions

What Will A Sun Bear Eat In Captivity?

When a sun bear is held captive (nature parks, research centres etc), it will tend to eat the same diet it would within a rainforest- just it will do less hunting since the bear will be fed what it needs.

Fruits like local produce from south-east Asia or other insects/animals from the tropical climate may not be available for the sun bear to eat. Sun Bears held in America for example, will not get access to any local rainforest produce- unless it is imported.

Bananas are a common thing the sun bears will eat. Nuts, bugs, small rodents etc are also other foods. The Sun Bear may eat less meat within a captivity- since vegetation won’t be scarce and meat only makes 5-10% of their diet.

How Long Is A Sun Bears Tongue?

A bear’s tongue is adapted to help a bear gain valuable nutrients from honey, bees and other insects. The tongue can grow at a maximum of 20 to 25 centimetres. Exceedingly long indeed! Its shape can easily lick out those nutrients from trees, coconuts and other vegetation! Their tongue is the longest of bears, and one of the longest tongues of any animal in the world.

What Are Sun Bear Predators?

The sun bear is in an environment full of predators within their tropical rainforest environment. There are large pythons, which have been reported to swallow the bear whole!

The bear is hunted by large vicious tigers, large ferocious birds of prey and huge, frightening constrictor snakes. One animal known to prey on the bear are pythons. Pythons are thick and hard to penetrate. The python can easily wrap the sun bear up and dislocate its jaw to eat it whole.

Sun bears are also hunted by humans. These animals are endangered since some think they hold medical benefits. It has been reported that they don’t at all, and this may be a local trade within medicines. Their organs are valuable to hunters, and these bears are hunted for them.

Furthermore, the rapid rate of deforestation means that they can easily loose their tree-habitat making them vulnerable to other predators.

In Conclusion

Sun Bears are Omnivores who reside in South-Eastern Asia in countries such as India, China, Malaysia and Cambodia. These bears are endangered and are extinct in places like Singapore.

Sun bear eats both vegetation and meat. Meat however only makes up to 5 to 10 percent of their diet. They mostly live their lives up in trees, therefore have adapted to this by gaining a large long tongue, sharp strong claws and a nimble short body.

They are hunted by snakes, tigers, humans and birds of prey. They are very shy and reclusive yet can be extremely aggressive and attack at any given moment!

These bears can easily get provoked, especially if they are with their cubs. They rarely attack humans, but when they do- they can easily kill using their strength and long claws.

These bears are hunted however by humans for their organs (apparent medicinal benefits which have not been confirmed), and their habitats are being destroyed via deforestation. This is to make way for cattle and/or illegal logging.