Sloth bears in Sri Lanka

Arabella Lakin

31 Jan 2017

meeting baloo in the wild

Sloth by name but not by nature, these small but active bears can be found throughout Sri Lanka and India. Perhaps the most famous sloth bear is Baloo from The Jungle Book who is known and loved by many worldwide. However, when seeing a sloth bear in the wild you may be surprised by their size. Baloo's size is greatly exaggerated, in actual fact these diminutive bears are normally only 60-90cm tall at their shoulder.

While they can be spotted at any time of the year the best time to find them is in July and August when the sweet fruit on trees starts to ferment giving them a certain sway as they stagger from tree to tree, intoxicated by the fruit they’ve consumed, fermenting in their digestive tracts. 

They can sometimes be spotted sprawled out under the trees lazily sleeping off their fruit consumption.

Our sloth bear encounters

The sloth bear is one of the most elusive animals in Sri Lanka and prefer to avoid human contact but two of our team have spotted these curious bears in Sri Lanka.

Sales Manager Arabella encountered one in Wilpattu in April. “I saw a handsome he-bear chilling under a tree, when he saw our vehicle he stood up to take a look at us showing off his height before quickly vanishing back to his den”.

Destination Specialist Harriet spotted her sloth bear in Yala National Park. “It was towards the end of the day and we were just finishing off our game drive and heading back to camp. It had just started to rain and we were hurrying along when a shout went out that there was a sloth bear hiding under a nearby tree, sheltering from the rain. When it saw us it made a dash for a denser bush, waggling it’s black shaggy bottom at us as it scurried away”.

Your Next Steps

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