Did You know? Fun and Interesting Facts about Sloths

By Andreana Benitez

Did you know there are two types of sloths?  There is the three-toed sloth and the two-toed sloth and they make up five different species, including the Pygmy three-toed sloth, the Maned sloth, the pale throated three-toed sloth, the brown throated three-toed sloth and Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth.  All of the sloth species live in the lowland tropical forests of Central & South America high up in the forest canopy.  Let’s see what other weird and interesting facts there about sloths.

  • The three-toed sloth weighs about 8 pounds and its body length is around 23 inches.  The two-toed sloth is slightly larger though.   But the three-toed sloth is the only one thst can turn its  head 270 degrees.  Thats almost completly around!  It can do this because they have 8 or 9 neck vertebrae whereas most mammaals only have 6 or 7.  How far can you turn your head?
  • Sloths are three times faster in the water than they are on land and they can even hold their breath for up to 40 minutes!!!  How long can you hold your breath?
  • People say they resemble monkeys because sloths have long arms and shaggy fur and like to hang around in trees all day.  But they are actually related to anteaters and armadillos. What animal do you look like?
  • Sloths are omnivores who spend most of their lives in the trees munching on leaves, twigs, flowers and other foliage. This diet makes them slow because it is low in calories and their matabolism is so slow.  What do you eat that makes you feel sluggish and slow?
  • Sloths only come out of the tree to go to the bathroom and they do this only  once a week!  And when they poop, they can lose up to 1/3rd of their body weight!  Half of sloth deaths occur when they do this because they are more vulnerable to predators.  How many times a week do you go to the bathroom?
  • Sloths are three times stronger than us and are the pull up champions of the world!  From the moment they are born, they are able to pull themselves up with one arm.  Could you pull all of your body weight up with one arm at birth?
  • Sloths are solitary creatures.  They only time they get together is to mate.  And they do this hanging from trees.  Could you imagine being alone all the time hanging from a tree?  I would get bored so fast. Wouldn’t You?
  • Sloths have 4 inch claws that help them to hang onto trees.  Their claws are razor sharp which also help to protect them from predators such as jaguars,snakes and eagles.  They are even able to retain their grip even after they die.  If you had claws, what would you do with them?
  • Sloths are able to fall 100 feet (height of 12 double-decker busses) to the ground and not get hurt.  Male sloths fight during mating season and their objection is to knock the other one out of the tree.  Would you knock somebody oiut of a tree over a girl/guy?
  • Sloths are able to camouflage themselves from predators becasue of their fur.  They move so slow that alge grows on their fur making the outer layer green.  This helps them to blend in amongst the leaves and hide.  But the algae doesn’t only help them.  It has helped researchers as well, because the algae grows some fungi that has been active against certain strains of bacteria, cancer and parasites.  The cure for cancer could very well be growing on the backs of sloths!!!