There are two bear species found in Krabi province in Southern Thailand – the Malayan Sun Bear, and the Asian Black Bear. Here is everything you need to know about Krabi bears.
Two Potentially Dangerous Bear Species in Krabi
Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus)
The Asian black bear, also known as the moon bear, white-chested bear, or, the Himalayan black bear, is a medium-sized bear species native to various parts of Asia, including Southeast Asia. Here are some key features and characteristics that will help you learn more about bears in Southern Thailand.
Appearance – Asian black bears have a stocky build with a shaggy black coat, which gives them their common name. They have a distinctive crescent-shaped patch of white or cream-colored fur on their chest. Some individuals may also have a white or gray patch on their chin or throat.
Range – In Southeast Asia, Asian black bears can be found in countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. They inhabit a variety of forested habitats, including tropical rainforests and montane forests.
Diet – Asian black bears are omnivorous, meaning they have a diverse diet. They feed on a range of food items, including fruits, nuts, insects, small mammals, bird eggs, turtles and tortoises, snakes, other small animals, and honey. They are skilled climbers and can also feed on tree bark and sap.
Behavior – These bears are generally solitary animals, except during the mating season or when a female is raising cubs. They are excellent climbers and are known to construct nests in trees for resting. Asian black bears are also known for their ability to hibernate during winter in colder regions.
Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)
The Malayan sun bear, also known as the honey bear, is the smallest bear species and is found in Southeast Asia, including countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar. Here are some key characteristics of the Malayan sun bear.
Appearance – Malayan sun bears have a compact build with short, sleek black fur. They have a distinctive yellowish or golden crescent-shaped mark on their chest, which varies in shape and size among individuals. They also have long, curved tongues that help them access honey and insects.
The sun bear is the smaller of the two bears in Thailand. Adult bears are typically 120 – 150 cm long and weigh 27 – 65 kg. Males can be 10–20% larger than females. (Thai National Parks .com)
Range – Malayan sun bears inhabit various forested habitats, including lowland rainforests, swamp forests, and montane forests. They are primarily found in Southeast Asian countries with suitable forested environments.
Diet – The Malayan sun bear is primarily omnivorous, with a diet consisting of fruits, insects, honey, nuts, small vertebrates, and vegetation. They are excellent climbers and spend a significant amount of time in trees.
Behavior – Sun bears are primarily solitary animals, and their activities are often centered around finding food because they need to eat a lot. They have a keen sense of smell and a long tongue that enables them to extract honey from beehives and termite mounds. Sun bears are also known for their ability to dig into trees or logs in search of insects.
Thailand Bear Conservation
Both the Asian black bear and the Malayan sun bear face threats in the wild, primarily due to habitat loss, illegal hunting, and the illegal wildlife trade. Conservation efforts are crucial to protecting these species and ensuring their long-term survival in their natural habitats.
Are Bears in Thailand Dangerous?
Asian black bears are mostly herbivorous, but they can be very aggressive toward humans and have frequently attacked people without provocation in Thailand.
Malayan Sun bears are sometimes described as shy and keeping to themselves and other times as very aggressive bears that attack without provocation for no obvious reason at all. It’s best to stay far away from them, if given the choice!
Our Personal Experience with Bears in Krabi
Though we have never seen one, someone we were with did. One time we were on a night trek out at the bottom of Khao Phanom mountain (same mountain as Huay Toh Waterfall) and one of our group saw a bear eating fruit on the ground. She ran toward us and past us screaming ‘BEAR!’, and we all went back to the campground and called off the night’s activities!
We have been in the rainforest many hundreds of times and never saw a bear besides that incident. It is HIGHLY unlikely you will come across a bear in the forest or anywhere in Thailand except a zoo.
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