Sloths are amazing creatures. It is possible to watch for a long time how they impressively and at the same time gracefully move, with closed eyes and without hurrying anywhere.
1. Sloths are strange and lovely creatures about which we know little.
As you might guess, people give such an unattractive name because they are one of the slowest animals in the world. They do not rush themselves when they move.
2. Sloths live and feed on trees.
They mostly hang upside down on tree branches and stay there for a long time. Since they are herbivores (only eating plant-based diet), they find their food while on a tree.
3. These slow-moving animals are mainly found in South and Central America.
More specifically, Barro Colorado Island in Panama, Atlantic Forest in Brazil, and the Costa Rican rainforests are the home to Sloths.
4. There are two kinds of sloths: two-toed and three-toed.
Moreover, this difference they have only on the front legs. On the hind legs, both kinds of sloths have three fingers.
5. The scientific name for the three-toed sloth, Bradypus meaning from Greek -“slow foot”.
Three-toed sloths are agile swimmers. Also, Bradypus does not have a specific breeding season. They can breed year-round.
6. The modern sloth is usually the size of an average dog.
A prehistoric sloth could reach the size of an elephant! Those slow-moving giants disappeared from the planet about 10,000 years ago.
7. Sloths spend 90% of their time hanging upside down.
According to some studies, this is possible because its organs are attached to the chest and do not compress the lungs. Therefore, unlike humans, it can remain hanging upside down for a long time.
8. Sloth’s defecation is happening once in a week.
And that puts them at real risk. To do this, they must descend from the tree, risking their lives.
9. Sloths live in a dangerous environment.
Predators such as Cougars or South American harpies often target sloths. The fearsome claws of sloths are not very effective due to the small muscular mass of the limbs.
10. Algae are found in the fur of sloths, which are in symbiosis with animals.
Algae paint sloths green, masking them in the foliage.
11. One of the first things female sloths do after giving birth to a baby is to transplant algae onto it.
This species of algae that are present on sloths, “Trichophilus welckeri”, is not found anywhere else in nature.
12. Sloth fur is almost completely water-repellent and does not allow many species of parasites to penetrate.
Therefore, sloths have fewer parasites than any other mammals of similar size
13. Sloths can swim.
They swim better compared to how slowly they crawl on land. Their huge stomach helps them stay afloat. And a slow metabolism allows them to hold their breath for as long as 40 minutes. Sloths swim rarely only when it is necessary to change the habitat to find food or a partner.
14. Sloths have an extra cervical vertebra.
That allows them to rotate their heads 270 degrees.
15. Despite their similarity to monkeys, sloths are closer to anteaters and armadillos.
That does not mean that monkeys and sloths did not come from the same origin. According to scientists, sloths and monkeys had a common ancestry. However, they are currently placed in different categories. Monkeys belong to the group called Taxon, while sloths are the members of Xenarthra.
16. Pygmy sloths are an endangered species.
They are found only on the small island of Escudo de Veraguas off the coast of Panama.
17. Like Armadillos, sloths have a poor vision.
They see the world in black and white and they have a hard time coping with bright lights.
18. Sloths do not get fat.
Additional reserves of fat are stored on the pads of their feet.
19. Sloths can sleep 10 to 20 hours a day.
They sleep only on the tree curling up like a ball.
20. Sloths take a long time to digest food.
They feed on hard-to-digest leaves and can digest them for a month. Sloths have a very complex stomach, 2/3 of their weight is their stomach. Therefore, sloths are the slowest and laziest animals since they spend all their energy on digesting leaves.
21. The sloths hold on to the branches of the tree so tightly that even when they die, they continue to hanging on there.
Sloths spent most of their time on trees and they rarely come down to the ground. They live up to 30 years.
22. Pregnancy of female sloths lasts about six months and they give birth to one cub.
Baby sloths spend about 2.5 years near their mothers and during this time get new skills. While their mothers moving, the baby firmly clings to its wool. When the sloths become independent, they occupy part of the habitat of their mothers and continue to communicate with their mothers.
23. In the brain of sloths, there are very few convolutions;
Only olfactory areas are well developed.
24. The sloth teeth are very primitive.
They have no roots and a surface layer of enamel, all teeth are the same in shape and size (only two-toed sloths have a pair of separate fangs).
25. An example of a famous sloth today is a minor comic hero of the cartoon “Zootopia”, which is remembered as “the fastest worker of all.”
Sloths have inhabited our planet in one form or another for over 40 million years. The secret of their success is their lazy nature. They are energy-saving legends.
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Facts, Diet & Habitat Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://animalcorner.co.uk/animals/sloth/.
Three-Toed Sloths. (2018, September 24). Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/three-toed-sloths/.
Fendt, L. (2015, October 17). 11 little-known sloth facts. Retrieved from https://ticotimes.net/2015/10/17/11-little-known-sloth-facts.