Species profie

Name: sloths are tree dwelling mammals belonging to the order Pilosa. There are six species of sloths belonging to two different families: the two-toed sloth family includes the Linnaeus’s two-toed and Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths; while the three-toed family includes the brown-throated, pale-throatedmaned, and pygmy three-toed sloths.

Appearance: sloths have long limbs, tiny ears, and small rounded heads – which they are able to rotate 270 degrees! Three-toed sloths also have short stubby tails.

Size: they can grow between 60 to 80 cm long and, depending on the species, weigh from 3.6 to 7.7 kg.

Diet: two-toed sloths have a diverse diet of insects, carrion, fruits, leaves, and small lizards. Three-toed sloths, on the other hand, have a limited diet of leaves from only a few particular trees.

Did you know: sloths are named because of their very low metabolism and slow deliberate movements. This is is an evolutionary adaptation to their low-energy diet and helps to avoid detection by predators. A further adaption is their remarkable fur which is host to a symbiotic green algae that helps them to camouflage in the trees. The algae in turn provides food for other species such as sloth moths – some of which only exist on sloths. The sloths benefit from this relationship as the moths help to fertilise the algae – meaning that sloth fur acts as a small ecosystem of its own!

Location: sloths are found in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America.

Best places to see sloths

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see sloths are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Costa Rica
very high
Madre de Dios
very low
very good

Photo credit: minkewink under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay

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