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Indian Sloth bear...  not so sloth-like after all! :/ We had time for only one safari on our tight schedule so we were excited to get in the jeep and head into the unknown. The safari started off quietly with little animal movement or alarm calls indicating the presence of a predator. But with numerous Spotted and Sambar deer around, the big cats&rsquo; food of choice, we remained hopeful. The forest was quiet, unnerving yet peaceful, all of which added to our anticipation. We went on, with increasing tension and excitement, spotting many birds, monitor lizards and enjoying the feel of the forest. Close to the end of the tour we crested a small rise to come across a Sloth bear rummaging in a termite-mound about 10 metres away from the road. Focused on its dinner it hardly paid any attention to us, lifting its head only to recognize our presence briefly before digging around for more termites!<br />
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We sat quietly for what seemed like an age, revelling in the bear being so close and at ease, they are usually very wary of humans. When all of a sudden it patience with its uninvited dinner guests vanished and it charged at us stopping scant meters from the car and rearing on its hind legs. There were four cameras following the bear, but not one picture was taken, all of us were leaning away from the bear in shock and fear! We sat still holding our breath until it slunk off into the bushes, obviously satisfied that it was the victor. After witnessing the speed of the bear I have felt that &lsquo;sloth&rsquo; probably was not the most appropriate name for it! 5D mkIII,Geotagged,India,Melursus ursinus,Sloth bear,Spring,adhocphotographer,bandipur,india,john rowell,karnataka,sloth bear Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Indian Sloth bear... not so sloth-like after all! :/

We had time for only one safari on our tight schedule so we were excited to get in the jeep and head into the unknown. The safari started off quietly with little animal movement or alarm calls indicating the presence of a predator. But with numerous Spotted and Sambar deer around, the big cats’ food of choice, we remained hopeful. The forest was quiet, unnerving yet peaceful, all of which added to our anticipation. We went on, with increasing tension and excitement, spotting many birds, monitor lizards and enjoying the feel of the forest. Close to the end of the tour we crested a small rise to come across a Sloth bear rummaging in a termite-mound about 10 metres away from the road. Focused on its dinner it hardly paid any attention to us, lifting its head only to recognize our presence briefly before digging around for more termites!

We sat quietly for what seemed like an age, revelling in the bear being so close and at ease, they are usually very wary of humans. When all of a sudden it patience with its uninvited dinner guests vanished and it charged at us stopping scant meters from the car and rearing on its hind legs. There were four cameras following the bear, but not one picture was taken, all of us were leaning away from the bear in shock and fear! We sat still holding our breath until it slunk off into the bushes, obviously satisfied that it was the victor. After witnessing the speed of the bear I have felt that ‘sloth’ probably was not the most appropriate name for it!

    comments (12)

  1. Oh my goodness, what a scary but amazing experience! Lovely photo though! Posted 7 years ago
  2. So cool that you saw it, we were hoping to see it in Sri Lanka this year, but didn't. I recognize the feeling when charged though, only in our case it was a huge elephant :) Posted 7 years ago
    1. Being charged by anything is scary... we are just no longer programmed to deal with it! :/ Posted 7 years ago
      1. My flight or flee instinct still worked pretty well :) Flee, that is. Posted 7 years ago
  3. Wow! What an experience! Great shot!
    Posted 7 years ago
    1. Thanks... it was awesome! :) Posted 7 years ago
  4. Fantastic image. Great story and description. And congratulations on the competition results. Well done and surely deserving. Posted 7 years ago
    1. Thanks Living Wild! :) It seems like i took it so long ago, and i have improved so much since, i'm sure i would not have gotten the same shot if i were to take it now! :) Posted 7 years ago
  5. That's one unpredictable animal. These attack only the face, dont know why they are interested in just the face of humans!! Have seen not 1 or 2, but more than such 5 cases, 3 of them in 2014 alone. Posted 7 years ago
    1. When a bear attacks another bear, they need to immobilize the biggest threat: the teeth and mouth. Similar to when a bear attacks a human. The bear does not know that we aren't going to fight the bear with our insignificant chompers, it just knows that in a bear-to-bear situation, they get bit. They also go for the face to ruin your senses so you cannot see, smell, hear, etc. They don't do this maliciously, they do this for their own protection. They don't know that you don't pose a threat to them physically. Posted 7 years ago
      1. That's a good piece of info. TFS travis! Posted 7 years ago
      2. Well, i'm not planning on get so close to one again... This is the reason tele-photo lenses were made! :P Posted 7 years ago

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The sloth bear, also known as the Stickney bear or labiated bear, is a nocturnal insectivorous species of bears found wild within the Indian Subcontinent. The sloth bear evolved from ancestral brown bears during the Pleistocene and shares features found in insect-eating mammals through convergent evolution. The population isolated in Sri Lanka is considered as a subspecies.

Similar species: Carnivorans
Species identified by JohnR
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By JohnR

All rights reserved
Uploaded Jan 28, 2015. Captured Apr 6, 2013 17:57 in Bandipur National Park, Nagapattinam - Coimbatore - Gundlupet Highway, Bandipur, Karnataka 571126, India.
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • f/2.8
  • 1/160s
  • ISO160
  • 200mm