Mammals

Mammals are any vertebrates within the class Mammalia, a clade of endothermic amniotes distinguished from reptiles by the possession of a neocortex, hair, three middle ear bones and mammary glands.

The Sloth Bear
sloth bear india

     The Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) is a wonderful shambling presence in the jungles of Tadoba reserve. Hairy, often dishevelled, playful, their dark features set against black fur make them difficult subjects to photograph. Described as a ‘jungle bum’ in the Disney film - and named 'Baloo' the bear after the hindi for bear 'bhalu' -  these bears feed mainly on termites, but nonetheless pose a real danger to villagers, and the unwary tourist, so it is best to keep your distance. These animals and the local villagers both collect the fleshy edible flowers of the mahua tree, and in the half‐light of dawn, the locals may surprise the notoriously short‐sighted and slightly deaf sloth bears, thus provoking an attack.

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sloth bear having a bath in india

     The large claws they use for digging up termites, or pulling bark off trees to get at tasty ants can clearly be seen here along with its small eyes which means it has poor eyesight. This bear, like many large mammals, including tigers, finds a ponds to cool down in the searing heat of a hot summer day.