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For the Indian cricketer, see Palwankar Baloo.
The Jungle Book character
T2JB023 - Bagheera would lie out on a branch.JPG
Baloo, at the base of a tree in the 1895 edition of The Two Jungle Books
First appearance "Mowgli's Brothers"
Last appearance The spring Running
Created by Rudyard Kipling
Species sloth bear
Gender Male

Baloo (Hindi: भालू Bhālū, "bear") is a main fictional character featured in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book from 1894 and The Second Jungle Book from 1895. Baloo, a bear, and Bagheera, a panther, save Mowgli from Shere Khan the tiger, and endeavor to teach Mowgli the Law of the Jungle in many of the stories of the Jungle Book.

Name and species[edit]

He is described in Kipling's work as "the sleepy brown bear". Robert Armitage Sterndale, from whom Kipling derived most of his knowledge of Indian fauna, used the Hindi word "Bhalu" for several bear species, though Daniel Karlin, who edited the Penguin reissue of The Jungle Book in 1989, states that, with the exception of colour, Kipling's descriptions of Baloo are consistent with the sloth bear, as brown bears and Asian black bears do not occur in the Seoni area where the novel takes place. Also, the name sloth can be used in the context of sleepiness. Karlin states, however, that Baloo's diet of "... only roots and nuts and honey" is a trait more common to the Asian black bear than to the sloth bear.[1] Nevertheless, this may be single observation only; we know from the dietary habits of sloth bears that while sloth bears mainly prefer termites and ants (which is also described as Baloo's special treat in The Jungle Book), their main sources of food are honey and fruits most of the year.

In film, television, radio and theatre[edit]

Baloo the bear.jpg
Baloo as he appears in the Walt Disney's The Jungle Book (1967).
First appearance The Jungle Book (1967)
Created by Rudyard Kipling
Voiced by

The Jungle Book animated film[edit]

Baloo, based on Kipling's creation, has appeared in various Disney productions, starting with that company's 1967 feature-length animated film The Jungle Book. In this version, Baloo (voiced by Phil Harris) is a friendly and even-tempered character who shirks responsibility—seemingly far removed from the law teacher in Kipling's book. Baloo is one of Mowgli's mentors and friends. Baloo is patient and strong; his only weakness is that he's ticklish. Variations of this version of the character have appeared in three animated series: TaleSpin (as a pilot), Jungle Cubs (as a cub) and Disney's House of Mouse (as a guest). He returns in the 2003 animated sequel The Jungle Book 2 in which he is voiced by John Goodman. Disney's Robin Hood, interpreting the traditional characters as anthropomorphic animals, features a version of Little John (also voiced by Phil Harris) that strongly resembles Baloo. He also meets up with Violet in a cameo appearance in the Disney on Ice play Disney Presents Pixar's The Incredibles in a Magic Kingdom Adventure.

Disney's Baloo is arguably the most popular character in the filmed version of The Jungle Book. He was made famous by the song "The Bare Necessities", sung by Phil Harris, in which he tells Mowgli how, if you know the tricks, you can live off the land and still have a life of leisure.


In the Disney animated TV series TaleSpin, Baloo (voiced by Ed Gilbert) is the main character of the series and is based primarily on the character from Disney's The Jungle Book, but he wears a flight cap and a yellow shirt. He also has four-fingered hands instead of his Jungle Book counterpart's claws. He has a fun-loving and irresponsible personality just like the Jungle Book version. Although lazy, slobby, unreliable, and always broke, he is also an excellent pilot and capable of daring aerial maneuvers. He flies a cargo plane called the Sea Duck. He will also selflessly come to the aid of people in need of help. Some of his mannerisms survive from The Jungle Book, including his nickname of "Papa Bear" given by his young friend Kit Cloudkicker, which Mowgli had given to him in The Jungle Book. He also calls Kit "Little Britches", as he did with Mowgli.

Jungle Cubs[edit]

In the Disney animated TV series Jungle Cubs, Baloo (voiced by Pamela Adlon) is a friendly and free-spirited cub. He likes to play with his friends (including his best friend Louie) and sometimes plays tricks on Bagheera in order to snap the latter out of his uptight attitude.

1994 live-action film[edit]

In the 1994 Disney live-action film The Jungle Book, Baloo, like all the other animals featured, does not speak. He first meets Mowgli as a cub when Mowgli finds him trapped inside a broken log. Mowgli frees him and they become fast friends. In a later scene, while Mowgli is escorting his childhood sweetheart Katherine "Kitty" Brydon through the jungle, Baloo appears and playfully wrestles with Mowgli, in the process temporarily scaring Kitty until Mowgli introduces his jungle friends to her. In a later tussle against soldiers working for Captain William Boone, the main villain, Baloo is shot and left for dead, but Mowgli finds him and locates Dr. Julius Plumford to save his life. In the final scene, after Boone's defeat, Dr. Plumford is shown to have successfully saved Baloo, and is seen standing with Baloo beside a waterfall.

Japanese anime[edit]

There has also been a Japanese anime TV series called Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli based on the original Jungle Book stories. This version more faithfully depicts Baloo (voiced by Banjō Ginga in Japanese, A.J. Henderson in the English dub) as a mature teacher of Mowgli, not above getting physical in his displeasure when the boy is being difficult.

1998 live-action series[edit]

In the live-action TV series Mowgli: The New Adventures of the Jungle Book based on the original Jungle Book stories, Baloo is once again given a stricter personality faithful to that of the book.

2010 animated series[edit]

In the Indian computer animated TV series The Jungle Book, Baloo (voiced by Jimmy Hibbert) is once again given a stricter personality faithful to that of the book. He is also depicted in this series as wearing glasses and bipedal.

Stage adaptation[edit]

Disney's 2013 stage adaptation of The Jungle Book, directed by Mary Zimmerman, features Kevin Carolan as Baloo.

2016 live-action film[edit]

In the 2016 Disney live-action film The Jungle Book, Baloo will be voiced by Bill Murray.

2017 live-action film[edit]

In the 2017 Warner Bros. live-action film Jungle Book: Origins, Baloo will be played by Andy Serkis who is also serving as the film's director.


  1. ^ Kipling, Rudyard (2011). The Jungle Book. New Mexico, USA: CSF Publishing. ISBN 9781937487225.