Whenever I go to the zoo, my favorite exhibits are those with animals from Asia. There are so many unique and cute animals from Asia. Who doesn’t love the giant panda with its black and white fur? I could spend hours just watching these cute creatures. However, if I did, I would miss seeing all of the other animals from Asia that are just as adorable. Fortunately, you do not have to go to a zoo to learn about a few of the adorable Asian animals, since the following provides examples of the magnificent creatures that hail from Asia.
I already mentioned the giant panda, which is one of the most commonly known animals from Asia. However, the red panda is another cute panda that is related to the giant panda and comes from Asia. Red pandas are much smaller than giant pandas. They are only three feet long and weigh just seven to fourteen pounds. In many ways they actually look more like a raccoon than a giant panda. Although, red pandas, with their red fur coat, are much more adorable than raccoons. They have white fuzzy ears that look like earmuffs, and they have furry feet to keep the soles of their feet warm, which is important because they live in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal and Bhutan. Unfortunately, the cute red panda is a threatened species as only 10,000 adults are thought to be living.
Due to poaching and deforestation, the clouded leopard is another animal that is a threatened species. It is hard to know exactly how threatened they are because they are very shy and are not often seen in the wild. Clouded leopards live in the forests of South China, Taiwan, and Malaysia, where they expertly climb trees. In fact, clouded leopards are such skilled tree climbers and have such a strong grip that they actually hang upside down on trees. I doubt they do this very often, because they do weigh up to 25 pounds. If you ever have a chance to see a clouded leopard, you will be awed by its beautiful markings that resemble clouds.
After seeing a sun bear at the zoo one year, this creature became one of my favorite animals. Sun bears have a black coat with a red patch on their chest that resembles a sun. As the smallest member of the bear family, they are only four to five feet long, which is good considering they have been found sleeping in tree branches in the dense forests of Southeast Asia. Sun bears have a shy personality, which may be why they are nocturnal animals. In addition to being nocturnal, a unique feature of sun bears is that they are monogamous, which is something not typically seen among bears.
I couldn’t have a list of Asian animals without including the Asian elephant. Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants, and they have smaller more rounded ears. Even though they are smaller than the African elephant, they still stand up to 10 feet tall and weigh up to 5.5 tons. Being this large, they need a lot of food. Asian elephants eat up to 300 pounds of food in a single day! Can you imagine eating that much food? These elephants don’t sleep very much, instead they spend most of their time foraging for food.
The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest of the 13 otter species. These otters live in fresh water near dense foliage and can be found in various places throughout Southeast Asia. They have webbed paws that help them swim and catch their food, which consists mostly of crabs, mussels, frogs, and snails. They live in family groups of about 12 and can have many as 6 babies at a time. An interesting fact about the Asian small-clawed otter is it is considered an indicator species, which means the health of its population indicates the health of the habitat in which it lives, as well as the health of other species.
The sloth bear is a very cute, shaggy bear with black fur. This scruffy looking bear lives in the forests of India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal where it forages for insects and fruits. The sloth bear is a very noisy forager that grunts and snorts as it looks for food. Further adding to the noisiness of this bear is its tendency to knock down beehives from trees so it can eat the honey comb. In some ways it reminds me of a scruffy version of Winnie the Pooh, however the sloth bear is much larger, averaging 5 to 6 feet in length.
The fishing cat is an unusual cat that has a long stocky body, round ears, a short tail, and partially webbed paws. The webbed paws are what make this animal so unique. They help the fishing cat swim underwater where it catches fish. Interestingly, as it swims, this cat uses its tail like a rudder. Because its diet consists mostly of fish, the fishing cat lives in densely vegetated areas that are near water.
All of these Asian animals are very unique in their own way. They are also all very cute, even the scruffy sloth bear has a certain charm to its face. However, I think the sun bear is still one of my favorite Asian animals. Which animal from Asia do you find to be the most adorable?
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