Sloth in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. By Nacho Such |
Sloth in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. By Nacho Such |

About the brown-throated sloth.

It is the most common existent three-toed sloth species. Its relatives from the other genus have only two toes.

Their front arms are longer than the back legs, with three big claws that allow them to keep a strong grip on the trees where they live their entire life.

These animals move extremely slow, hence their name. The reason is their diet, based on tree leaves. Their body is adapted to digest them (even though it takes them days) and, due to the low caloric content, they spend the day trying to keep the expenditure of energy as low as possible.

They are excellent swimmers that can cross rivers, for example, to move from one tree to another looking for a mate.

In the past it was believed that these animals slept many more hours than they actually do: 10 per day.

Its main predators are jaguars, eagles and snakes. Their defense mechanism against them is hiding behind tree branches and remain camouflaged up there.

Their fur has a green color, which helps camouflage them and go unnoticed by predators. It is due to an algae on their fur that helps grow a type of moth that benefits from the sloth’s droppings.

Sloths have only one baby every year that spends 5-10 months with its mother.

These animals can rotate their heads like owls, up to 300 degrees, to stay alert, aware of their surroundings.

Sloths leave the trees an average of once a week to urinate and defecate. This is when they are the most vulnerable and when the moths in their fur lay their eggs in the dung.

Due to their very slow metabolism, they need to use the sun to keep their bodies warm, like reptiles.

Males can be distinguished from females because they have an orange patch with a black stripe on the back.

Happy brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus). By jdross75 |
Happy brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus). By jdross75 |
Brown-throated slothLeast concern
Bradypus variegatus42 to 80 cm (17 to 31 in)
Bradypodidae2.25 to 6.3 kg (5.0 to 13.9 lb)
Pilosa25-30 years
Mammalia183 days
UnknownThey eat leaves from a wide variety of trees.
Several kinds of evergreen, dry and tropical forests.Brasil, north of Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.


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