Sloths are slow-moving mammals that spend their lives hovering about in the trees of Central and South America.
Sloths are medium-sized animals that come in both two and three-toed classes. These mammals live on trees almost their entire life and are linked to the anteaters. You will see a similarity between these two if you have a look at their claws, though anteaters use theirs for diggings, and sloths use them for dangling from tree limbs.
Typically, sloths eat leaves, buds, and the tender shoots of several plants. They are very slow in their movements, hence the name “sloth,” which, as you may know, is the Biblical fatal sin of laziness. Both types of sloths are relatively widespread in Central and South American jungles.
Here are seven fun facts about them.
- The three-toed sloths have extra vertebrae at the back of their neck; therefore, they can turn their head a whole 270°, dressing them with an almost 360° view of their surroundings. Sloths’ mouth has a smiling appearance. This goofy smiling expression is what fascinates this animal to many enthusiasts.
- The sloth is so sluggish that its fur and body often act as the host to a range of beetles, moths, and algae. The algae often give the sloth a green color and appear as camouflage.
- The sloth moves slower than any other mammal on the planet. This moderate pace means that sloths usually travel no more than 125 feet (38 meters) on a particular day, and the few occasions when they find themselves on the ground, they crawl only 1 foot (30 cm) per minute.
- Sloths spend most of their entire life sticking on to tree branches that they can still maintain their grip even after death, thanks to their adaptive claws and muscles. They are sometimes found dead and quietly clinging onto branches as if they were alive.
- It is concluded that sloths have the slowest digestive rate of any mammal. It takes 2-3 weeks for them to digest their food. Thus 2/3rds of their weight is in their stomach.
- The sleeping time of a sloth depends on its habitat, with sloths in captivity sleep 15-20 hours a day. Sloths in the wild snore as much as humans, at around 7-9 hours a day.
- Sloths usually try to reproduce once a year, but at times, they do not move enough to find a partner to mate with. The whole mating ritual is done, including foreplay, in about 5 seconds. Ouch.