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Posts Tagged ‘sloth bear’

British hunters pursue sloth bear

Unfortunately, this depiction of a sloth bear looks very little like the real thing:

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I don’t think the jackals have much to worry about here.

Sloth bears very rarely prey on anything other than termites.

However, they occasionally attack people, probably because they view us as a potential threat.

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Yes, I know they look like coyotes.

Because golden jackals are more closely related to wolves and coyotes than the other two species of jackal, I think they need a new name.

How about Old World coyote?

Sloth bears may look placid, but they have been known to become quite aggressive toward people.

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It was sloth bear!

This illustration comes from a book called Sport in Many Lands: Europe, Asia, Africa, and America (1890).

The author, Henry Astbury Leveson, includes many different anecdotes about hunting all sorts of different creatures throughout the world.

However, the person who created the illustration appears to be a person who had never seen a sloth bear.

Sloth bears do have manes, but this animal looks like a lion.

This is what a sloth bear looks like in the real world:

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Sloth bears eat mostly termites, with some honey, fruit, and maybe some other vegetable matter. To make it easier for the bears to lick up the termites, they have lost the incisor teeth on their top jaw.

However, they have been known to attack people. Some sloth bears have become notorious for their aggression. The sloth bear of Mysore killed a dozen people and probably injured twice that number.

These attacks come  because they likely see people as potential threats. Sloth bears are prey for leopards and tigers, and the sloth bears have developed aggression as a defense mechanism towards these predators.

Because people have hunted them, the bears have a reason to fear humans, and they deploy a similar defense mechanism against us. If an unarmed person startles a sloth bear in the forest, it is possible that the bear could respond with aggression.

So that is why a bear that eats mostly termites can be a threat to humans.

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