Baby sun bears are born blind, hairless, and helpless, and are completely dependent on their mothers for their first three months. Their mothers will carry them in their mouths or, unusually, by cradling them in their arms while they walk on their hind legs, a behaviour seen in no other bear species. The cubs nurse from their mother for around 18 months, and will stay with her until they are two years old. Females are ready to find a mate of their own by the time they are three, and males reach sexual maturity at around four.
The clouded leopard is so called because of the distinct, cloud-shaped patches on its coat. These same patches are, in China, believed to resemble mint leaves, and so in China these cats are known as “mint leopards”. In Malaysia, the arboreal habits of these predators have given them the name “tree tigers”.
We mentioned before that the clouded leopard has an extremely long and thick tail to serve as a counterbalance as it climbs through the trees. This tail, which is as long as the cat’s entire body, is the longest in relation to body size of any feline species. The clouded leopard’s teeth, particularly its canines (or fangs), are another unique feature of this animal. These canine teeth can grow over four centimetres in length; that’s as long as the fangs of an adult tiger! To put this into perspective, a tiger is over ten times larger than a clouded leopard. Much like the tail, these teeth are the longest in relation to body size of any cat species. This has lead to the clouded leopard being referred to as “the modern day sabretooth”.
Like most bears, sun bears are generally solitary when not seeking a mate. When in breeding condition, however, mating pairs seem quite affectionate with each other, with the two bears hugging, play-fighting, and nuzzling. Little is known about mate selection or habits, especially since there is no set breeding season, but there are some researchers who believe the sun bear is monogamous. Adult pairs, possibly mates, have been observed travelling with litters of cubs, which is extremely unusual for bears. However, this has yet to be confirmed.