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Sloths

 

 

Sloths are such fascinating creatures! They live in the rainforests of Central and South America and spend most of their lives hanging upside down in trees. They can even fall asleep while hanging upside down! Their fur grows in the opposite direction that we’re used to – it grows toward its back instead of its belly. This is helpful, since the sloth is usually hanging upside down. Rain just slides off and the sloth stays dry.

There are two types of sloths, depending on the number of toes. Their toes are long, curved 3-4” claws that help the sloth hang upside down on the branches. All sloths have 3 toes on their back limbs. Three-toed sloths have 3 toes on their front limbs and two-toed sloths have two. 

Both types of sloths are about the size of a cat, but three-toed sloths are bigger than two-toed. Two-toed sloths are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. Three-toed sloths are nocturnal and diurnal, which means they are active during the day. Plus, three-toed sloths have 2 extra vertebrae in their necks which enables them to turn their heads 270 degrees in either direction. A three-toed sloth has a short tail and appears to smile at you, due to the shape and coloring of its face.

Why do sloths sometimes look green? A sloth can be covered in green algae, which helps to camouflage it in the rainforest. Insects, such as moths and beetles, live in the sloth’s fur. They feed on the algae growing there. 

Did You Know?

  •  Sloths sleep up to 15 hours a day.
  •  Sloths live in the tree, but come down about once a week to use the bathroom.
  •  Sloths can stick out their tongues up to 12”.
  •  Sloths are arboreal animals, which means they spend most of their lives in trees.
  •  Sloths crawl very slowly, but are good swimmers.
  •  Giant sloths (about the size of an elephant) lived millions of years ago.



     



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