Northern, eastern and south-eastern parts of the island are becoming dry exaclty when monsoon season is starting at the south-western coast. Many wild animals can be observed in the dryzone right now, in wildlife parks in particular, as almost all national parks in Sri Lanka's are situated in the dryzone. Many fruits are ripe in July and August, this is a reason for better chances to observe sloth bears now, for example in Sri Lanka's largest national parks, Wilpattu and Yala. Almost half of Sri Lanka's sloth bears live outside national parks. In Kudumbigala near Okkanda (at the border of Kumana NP) you have best chances to spot sloth bears without entrance ticket. Though a sloth bear's preferred diet are insects and particularly termites and ants, 50% or even 70% of their food are fruits during this season. Of course, Baloo's relatives eat honey, too.
Baloo is called "the sleepy brown bear" in Rudyard Kipling's "jungle book". However, "Bhalu" is the Hindi word for the species of bears most common in South Asia, the sloth bear. Baloo, Mowgli's teacher and helper in the jungle, is a character well-known for his sleepiness. An impression of sleepiness was exactly the reason why the British called India's Melursus ursinus a "sloth" bear. Though, in contrast to most other bears, this Southasian species is not a hibernating animal (no winter sleep), sloth bears are less actice during the wet season.
Sri Lanka's subspecies of sloth bears, Baloo's cousin, is slightly smaller than bhalus on the mainland, a feature applying to many island subspecies. In contrast to Indian sloth bears, their Sri Lankan relatives mate during wet and dry season alike. Their preferred habitat are monsoon forests of lower altitude, those in India occur in open grassland as well.
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