Sloth

Species profiLe

Name: sloths are slow-moving mammals that live in trees. There are six species 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 round 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 4 to 8 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 extremely 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 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 rain and cloud forests of Central and South America.

Where to see sloths

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see sloths in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica
100%
very high
5.0
very good
1
reports
Tortuguero
Costa Rica
50%
average
3.0
good
2
reports
Monteverde
Costa Rica
33%
low
4.7
very good
3
reports
Madre de Dios
Peru
0%
very low
4.8
very good
4
reports
Ilha Grande
Brazil
0%
very low
5.0
very good
1
reports

Photo credit: minkewink under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay

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