Two-toed Sloth

Choloepus didactylus

A Different Perspective

Sloths have a variety of adaptations for their upside-down, slow lifestyle. Sloths are only of the only mammals with hair that parts from their stomach and flows towards their back. Additionally, sloths, along with manatees, are the only mammals that do not have seven cervical vertebrae.

About the Species

Thousands of years ago, giant ground sloths roamed the United States and ranged in size between a dog and an elephant. Today's sloths are smaller and most-closely related to anteaters.

The two-toed sloth is mainly nocturnal, sleeping up to 20 hours every day. Sloths are extremely adapted to their "slow" and arboreal lifestyle, spending almost their entire life upside-down in the trees. Sloths only come out of the trees about once a week in order to defecate on the ground. Because of their long claws, sloths are not good at walking on the ground, and are very vulnerable to predators when they do so. They are decent swimmers, however. The hair of the sloth is very unique, as it parts down the middle of their stomach and flows towards their back: the opposite of most other animals. Yet another adaptation to life upside down! The two-toed sloth is characterized by two large, three-inch claws on both the front feet. All sloths, whether one of the two-toed or three-toed species, have three claws on the hind limbs

Words From the Experts

Quotes

Our female sloth, Coral, loves the rain! It is perhaps the time she is most active and she usually will climb all over the exhibit.

Kara

Did You Know?

The sloth's speed, or lack there of, is actually one of its defenses against predators. If they don't move, predators can't see them! Additionally, algae grows on their fur, and the green color helps them blend in with the trees.

Facts

Origin

Central and South America

Habitat

Tropical forests

Size

Up to 20-25 pounds / 2-3 feet in length

Diet

Leaves, shoots, fruit

Predators

Jaguars, ocelots, and sometimes even harpy eagles may prey upon sloths

Natural Defenses

Camouflage

Reproduction

Sloths give birth to one young at a time. They even give birth upside down!

Status

Least Concern

Life Expectancy

10-15 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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