Wild Fact #557 – Slow-Paced Life – Three-Toed Sloth

Photo by Stefan Laube (Wikimedia)

The Wild Fact fans that have been with me since the beginning (well at least since Wild Fact #982) will know that we have talked about the Sloth before.  Well my friends, on that day I only discussed the abundance of organisms living in their fur.  Today, we are going to look at the Three-Toed Sloth which is a species of Sloth (there is also the Two-Toed Sloth – can you guess the differences between the species?).  As well, I absolutely love the Sloth so you can guarantee there will be a 3rd Wild Fact on them before we finish this project.

So let’s see what we can learn about natures laziest animal.  Okay, so I don’t know if they are officially the laziest animal but they must be in the Top 3.  Although, it has received recognition as being the worlds slowest mammal which is quite an honour.  The Three-Toed Sloth is basically built for a life in the tree-tops of their Rainforest home.  Most of their time is spent hanging out in the trees. In fact they love it so much that they will actually sleep aloft the tree tops.  This probably explains why they spend the majority of their time in the trees.  You see, the Three-Toed Sloth will sleep for about 20 hours a day.  And you thought your 16 year old son was lazy.

Photo by Christian Mehlführer (Wikimedia)

So maybe you are thinking that sleeping in the trees isn’t that big of a deal since a lot of animals will do this.  Well you are right but perhaps this next little fact will impress you.  The Three-Toed Sloth will actually mate and give birth while hanging from the trees. Now you can’t tell me that doesn’t impress you a little bit.

This lifestyle is made possible by their extremely powerful grip and the three long claws don’t hurt either.  Believe it or not, their grip is so strong that dead sloths have been known to remain hanging from their favourite branch for awhile after death.  Talk about dedication.  Now if you put these animals on the ground then they will be in trouble.  They have weak hind legs and as a result are not strong walkers.  They will need to dig into the earth with their claws and use their powerful front legs to pull themselves across the ground.  Now I understand why they stick to the trees.

Three-Toed Sloth Fast Fact – Although the Sloth may be incredibly clumsy on land, they are actually decent swimmers.  They are able to use their powerful forearms to propel themselves quite efficiently. On numerous occasions the Three-Toed Sloth has been known to drop directly from their tree into the water.  I guess it is like the big diving board at the local pool.

So I guess that does it for the 2nd Sloth Fact.  I hope you enjoy the life of the Three-Toed Sloth as much as I do.  Enjoy the rest of your day and I will see you here tomorrow for the last Wild Fact of the week.

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