Types of Bears

Sun Bear

Sun Bear iStockphoto/Thinkstock Sun Bear iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Sun Bear iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Little One: Standing an average of only 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) tall, the sun bear is the smallest bear in the world. However, while this bear may be short of stature, its long, slender tongue certainly makes up for its lack in height; the bear's tongue ranges from 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) long, making it perfect for extracting honey from beehives and giving this bear the nickname "honey bear."

Short Hair: The sun bear lives in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia, so hibernation is a foreign concept to them. Unlike other bears, sun bears' coats are short enough to prevent them from overheating, but still long enough to protect them from twigs and branches.

Teacher's Pet: People often breed or capture sun bears and turn them into domestic pets, because their size makes them easier to maintain, and they aren't as threatening as other bear species. According to the Craig Institute, these bears are sold among some cultures in Southeast Asia, where wild pets are considered a status symbol among both the rich and the poor.