Sloths are SLOW moving mammals that live in the tops of trees and eat leaves.
The three toed sloth gets its English name from the fact that it has three long claws on each paw. Its tough grey hair is usually green tinged because of algae that live inside its fur. The sloth’s alga is eaten by sloth moths and provides the sloth with a way to hide in the trees away from predators. The sloth is perezoso (lazy or slow) because all it eats are leaves. The leaves are so low in energy that the sloth has to conserve as much energy as possible. While they move very slowly in trees, you should see one swim! They can swim much faster than they can walk or climb. Their arms are much longer than their legs and the only way for them to walk is to drag themselves along the floor. Males are marked by a patch of orange and black fur on its back. Although they are very slow, they are still very important for the rainforest ecosystem.
The two-toed sloth is harder to find than three-toeds because there are many fewer of them. Two-toed sloths actually move faster than three-toed, but they are still VERY SSSSLLLOOOOOWWWW.
Copyright Gerald R. Urquhart
Michigan State University
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