Relaxing against a Rock
Selenarctos thibetanus

basindo nan tenggil
(He who likes to sit high-day bedding)
Black beast
Dog bear
Formosa bear
Giant cat bear (Japan)

The asiatic black bear has many similarities to its American cousin. Both are medium sized, and black. The ears of the asiatic bear are large and seem inappropriately sized to the rest of its head and those of other bears. These bears have a white patch of fur on their chest, which is often shaped like a V, with some varying amount of white on their chin as well. Occasionally, they can be found in a brown color phase.

The asiatic black bears are not as widely studied as the other bears, so very little information is available about their relative size and other statistics. Generally, they have been found to be 50-75 inches in length. The males usually weigh from 220-440 pounds, and the females from 110-275 pounds.

These bears can be found throughout Southern Asia. They are known in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sikkim, Northern India, Bhutan, and into Burma. They can also be found in Northeast China, and Southeast Russia, Taiwan, and the Japaneese islands of Honshu and Shikoku. Mostly, these bears live in forested areas, especially hilly and mountainous places. The preferred elevations change seasonally. In summer, asiatic black bears have been spotted at over 9,900 feet--moving to lower elevations as the cold of winter comes on. In the northern parts of their range, they den for winter. Current thinking is that the bears in the southern reaches do not hibernate.

The diet of the asiatic black bear is quite diverse. They eat carrion, bee's nests, insects, invertibrates, small vertibrates, and fruit. They have been known to kill domestic livestock, but to what degree they exhibit this predation is not known. They are also known to make daybeds and feeding platforms in nut-bearing trees.