Last Updated on June 10, 2023 by Shu
Sloths are one of the most unique and interesting creatures on the planet. These peaceful animals are the epitome of chilled out and look like they are always in a good mood, even when they’re not. Sloths are impossible not to love.
They are everyone’s favorite animal! They are the perfect combination of all the best things in the animal kingdom- a goofy smile, furry faces, and of course those long dangly arms. Best of all, they are our daily reminder to take it easy!
But did you know all there is to know about sloths? Probably not! If you are looking for interesting facts about sloths, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find out more about the coolest-looking creature on the planet!
Even though most sloth species are not in critical danger from extinction, they are very reliant on trees to survive, so the more trees that get cut down and more of their natural habitat gets destroyed, the more in danger they will be. There are lots of things you can do to support your favorite furry friend, from donating to animal charities to adopting a sloth that’s being looked after!
They live in Central and South America deep in the tropical forests so it’s hard to find out exactly how many sloths there are in the world and whether they are doing well or not.
Sloths are super interesting creatures and there are lots of interesting facts about them listed below, we bet there’s at least one in there that you had no idea about!
Top 13 Interesting Facts About Sloths
There are two different types of sloths. These are two and three claws sloths. Two-toed Sloths are slightly bigger than three-toed sloths, though they share many of the same features. Out of these two types, there are six species of sloth in total: Maned sloth, Pale-throated sloth, Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth, Pygmy three-toed sloth, Brown-throated sloth, and Hoffman’s two-toed sloth.
Out of these species, the Maned sloth is on the endangered watch list and the Pygmy three-toed sloth is at risk of extinction as there are so few left.
1. Sloths Spend Most of Their Lives In Trees
Sloths only come down to the forest floor once a week, and this is when they are most at risk of predators.
2. Sloths Grow Algae On Their Fur
This is actually by design as the algae get shelter and water from the sloths and the sloths get camouflage from the algae, as well as nutrients absorbed through their skin! In the winter months, the algae go grey, making them blend in with the trees and making them look extra bushy.
3. Sloths Are The Number One Slow-Moving Mammal On Earth
They tend to only travel up to 125feet (38 meters) in a whole day! And when they are on the ground, they crawl at about 1 foot (30cm) per minute! That’s less than half of a football pitch in a whole day!
The sloth is so slow that it can conserve its energy for as long as possible. Because they live off leaves, branches, and flowers, they have a low metabolism, around 40-45% lower than other similarly sized mammals. As the rule of nature, slow animals usually have a longer life-span.
4. Sloths Are Surprisingly Good Swimmers (Faster in Water)
Despite being super slow on land, they can swim about three times faster, which is surprising for such a slow-moving animal!
Sloths can hold their breath for 40 minutes, letting their heart rate drop a third of its regular speed and suppressing their metabolism so they burn off less energy.
5. They are Always Smiling
Sloths’ facial fur makes it look like they are always smiling and chilled out even when they are stressed or scared. Even if a sloth looks calm and relaxed, it does not want to be picked up by humans and would rather be left alone in the wild.
6. Sloths Can Turn Their Heads Around 270 Degrees
This means they can look around at a 360-degree angle! This is because they have an extra bone at the base of their neck and are unique from other mammals- great for watching out for predators.
7. A Sloth Only Poops Once Every Week
Because it’s so dangerous for them on the forest floor when they move so slowly, they only venture down from the treetops to have a poo as little as possible.
A sloth can lose about a third of its body weight every time it has a poo! Because sloths only defecate once a week, when they go, they go! This is the most dangerous time to be a sloth as they are unprotected on the forest floor when they go.
8. Sloths Spend 90% of Their Lives Upside Down
Unlike humans and other mammals, they have no problem breathing when they are upside down because their organs are attached to their ribcage so they don’t press down on their lungs!
9. They are Vulnerable to Deforestation
Sloths live in the tropical rainforests of Central America and South America. Because they spend most of their lives in trees, they are highly dependent on them to survive.
Sloths are incredibly important to the health of tropical forests. Their poops are a great natural fertilizer to the forest and they are an integral part of the ecosystem in a tropical forest, keeping the soil rich for plants to grow and other animals to thrive.
The rarest sloth in the world is the pygmy three-toed sloth. There are less than 100 pygmy sloths in the wild and their main threat is deforestation and habitat destruction.
They only live on a small remote island off the coast of Panama, which also is home to lots of other unique species you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
10. Ancient Sloths Were The Size Of Elephants
A regular-sized Brown-throated sloth (the most common) is around the size of a medium-sized dog.
Ancient sloths used to grow as large as Asian elephants! They were called Megatherium and became extinct around 10 000 years ago.
A sloth’s diet mainly consists of leaves, flower buds, and young shoots, usually eating things that are all in an arms reach, but they can also eat small bugs and unlucky lizards that aren’t quick enough!
Sloths sleep around 8-9 hours a day in the wild, though can sleep up to 16 hours when in captivity either due to boredom or because they don’t need to find their food.
An average sloth weighs between 8 to 17 pounds (3.6 to 7.7 kilograms).
11. It Takes Sloths 30 days to Digest Just One Leaf
Sloths can get violent when attacked by a predator- they will fight, scratch, and bite if a predator tries to get them!
Sloths may look more like monkeys, but they are related to armadillos and anteaters!
Picking up sloths by their arms or claws causes them to be very stressed and scared. Sloths may be cute but they don’t like being picked up!
12. Sloths Give Birth Hanging Upside Down
Sloths have such a good grip that they can stay hanging in trees long after they have died! They even give birth hanging upside down!
Apart from the pygmy sloth and the Maned sloth, they are actually doing very well in the wild and are not at threat of extinction.
13. Sloths are Super Stealthy and Sluggish
Because they move so slowly, it’s hard for predators like birds to find them as they rely on fast movements to find their prey.
Wild sloths have 4 main predators they have to watch out for: anacondas, harpy eagles, ocelots, and jaguars.
Sloths’ claws are razor sharp. They stay super still so they can save all their energy. They have an average lifespan of 20- 30 years in the wild, though they can live longer in captivity.
There you have it – everything you need to know about sloths. As you can see, they are a pretty curious but interesting animal!
Now you know more about them than purely their fame for being lazy, why not wow your friends and family with your newfound facts!
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