Area: Central and South American
Habitat: Rain Forests
Food: Vegetables, leafs and fruit
Size: 10 - 20 pounds and 21 - 29 inches long
Sooooooo slow !!!
Their maximum speed climbing in trees is 0.2 miles per hour (on the ground they can travel at only 0.01 miles per hour!)
Sloths are divided into two families based on the amount of toes that they have on their hands. They really should have been named "two-fingered sloths"! All sloths have three toes on their back feet. Two toed sloths evolved from prehistoric ground sloths - they used to be as large as elephants!
Two toed sloths have small ears covered in fur and very poor hearing. They also have poor near vision, but have photo-receptors in their eyes that show an adaptation to night vision. They often only blink one eye at a time! Two toed sloths rely on their sense of smell and touch to obtain food and make contact with other sloths.
Two toed sloth mainly eat leaves, but there is a lack of data on their wild diet due to them being nocturnal and their camouflage. Algae grows on their skin which provides camouflage. Several species of pyramid moth inhabit the algae on a sloth’s fur.
They have 10 upper teeth and 8 lower teeth which lack enamel. Their teeth grow throughout their lifetime and are ground down. Two toed sloth have a 10 month gestation period and have only 1 offspring per litter that is 10in long and weighs 12oz. They become independent at 1 year old.
Two toed sloths are nocturnal and arboreal which means they spend their lives in trees. They are very well adapted for their arboreal lifestyle. They have long, curved claws to help them latch onto tree branches and complex stomachs that allow them to digest foliage. They have reinforced lumbar that makes life upside down possible and a skeleton, muscles, and joints that support their hanging lifestyle. Even their internal organs are arranged for hanging upside down. Everything that they do is done upside down including eating, mating, sleeping, and even giving birth!
A two toed sloth’s predators are wildcats (ocelots and jaguars), large birds (harpy/crested eagles) and anacondas. They are usually caught by predators when they come down the tree to poop or when they are switching trees. If caught on the ground by a predator, sloths will defend themselves with the powerful claws on their forelimbs. They also stand on their hind feet and "run" backwards when threatened - but they can hurt themselves by crashing into trees and other obstacles (just like we would if we were running backwards!). They can swim, which makes it possible for them to cross rivers and creeks, but don’t swim often because it makes them more susceptible to predators.
Two toed sloths are mostly solitary and move to a different tree each night to sleep. They sleep 18 hours per day and spend the other 6 hours foraging. They are active for about two hours at a time. Their body temperature varies with the temperature of their environment. Their fur provides insulation and they seek shade or sun to regulate their body temperature. They cannot shiver to keep warm and have difficulty maintaining their body temperature on rainy days.