Sloth: What You Should Know

Sloths are mammals that live in the rainforests of South America. Their arms are longer than their hind legs. They have stubby tails and shaggy coats. There are two-toed and three-toed sloths, distinguished by the number of fingers visible. It has long, curved claws.

Sloths are found in trees, where they primarily eat leaves. They hold on there with their large claws and hang so tightly that they don’t fall off even when they sleep. Their fur lets the rain runoff. Sometimes even algae grow in the fur because the animal moves so little. The sloth can get a greenish tinge from this.

Sloths are considered to be particularly sluggish. You sleep 19 hours out of the 24 hours in a day. When they move, they do so very slowly: they don’t get more than two meters a minute. This is because their food contains very little energy. However, the sloth’s organs and movements also require very little energy.

Little is known about the reproduction of sloths. The females become sexually mature at around three to four years of age. Three-toed sloths are pregnant for about six months, while two-toed sloths carry their babies in their wombs for almost a year.

The cub weighs less than half a kilogram. There are no twins. During childbirth, the mother hangs in the branches. The cub clings to its mother’s tummy in its fur and drinks her milk there for about two months. After a few weeks, it begins to eat leaves itself.

No one knows exactly how old sloths get. In captivity, it can be thirty years or more. In nature, however, they are often eaten by big cats, birds of prey, or snakes.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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