The sun bear is active at night, usually sleeping and sunbathing by day in a tree, 2 to 7 meters above the ground. Branches are broken and bent to form a nest and lookout post. Skillful climbers, they depend on their ability to get at their food. They are cautious, wary, and intelligent. Sometimes they cause a lot of damage to coconut palm and cocoa plantations. They have a curious gait, in that all the legs are turned inward while walking. Usually shy and retiring, they do not hibernate.
Sun bears are listed on Appendix I of CITES. Habitat loss is their main threat to survival, as well as the pet trade, poaching for food, fur and the Asian medicinal trade.