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Tiny Sloth Bear Cub Gets Vocal at Smithsonian's National Zoo


The Smithsonian National Zoo has two bearing bears! The month of December was fruitful for the National Zoo's bears. You may have read about the first birth of an Andean Bear cub here on ZooBorns. Now 18-year-old Sloth Bear Hana has given birth to a single cub. What's more, it all went down on Dec. 19, which happens to be her own birthday!

Animal care staff are keeping a close watch on the cub through a closed-circuit TV camera, and so far, both bears are doing great. Mom is very attentive, and the cub has successfully nursed.


At first, the cub was quite fussy when Hana would change position. Now, it is more settled, sleeping regularly and soundly. When Hana leaves the den for a drink, the cub tries to crawl around in the hay. However, it doesn’t have much coordination yet. It will be another week or two before it becomes more coordinated and able to start moving around more on its own.

At 17 days old, as seen in the video below, the cub is loud for such a tiny baby. Watch as it opens its little mouth and looks like it's trying to find somewhere to nurse. But the Zoo reports this is just playing behavior. Regardless, Mom is quite patient and attentive with her vocal little one.  

He (or she) is growing! Keepers estimate the cub’s weight to be about 1-2 pounds. It’s likely that the cub will open its eyes any day now. 

It will be a few months before it goes on exhibit. On warm winter days, Zoo visitors can watch the cub’s father, Francois, sunning himself on Asia Trail.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo