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10 things you probably don't know about bears

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on Oct. 20, 2015, 9:36 a.m.
Portrait of a sloth bear

Photo: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock

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Sloth bears use their lips like a vacuum

Speaking of interesting eating habits, we can't ignore the specially developed lips of the sloth bear — a feature that has earned it the alternative name of the labiated bear.

This species is native to India and in addition to eating fruits and flowers, it loves to feast on ants and termites. It does so by using its long lower lip, which can be wrapped around the outer edge of its nose, to create basically a suction hose out of the end of its snout. And because it lacks upper incisor teeth, it is able to easily suck up a meal of insects.

As Smithsonian National Zoo puts it, "A sloth bear uses its lips like a vacuum, making rapid, loud 'kerfump' noises as it sucks insects from their nests." The sucking sound they make when working away at a termite mound can be heard over 100 meters away. They can also close their nostrils so that bugs don't get up their nose while they're eating.