The Sloth

Choloepus Hoffmani

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Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Pilosa

Family: Megalonychidae

Genus: Chloepus

The species of both two-toed and three-toed sloths are thought to be somewhat related to armadillos and


The sloth is a largely sedentary and solitary animal that lives mostly in trees. One of the benefit of being in the trees so much is that the sloth formed a symbiotic relationship with green algae. This algae can give the sloth a greenish camouflage and, being in a tree, allow the algae to spread spores. No interactions between sloths are ever seen except for during mating and mother-to-child caring.

Spending so much time in trees, the sloths are herbivores, eating mostly leaves, buds, tender twigs, young plant shoots, fruits, and flowers. The sloth's stomachs are four chambered, which contain more bacteria to digest their cellulose-intensive diet.

Despite being slow, the sloths only have a few predators. Some include: harpy eagles (harpia harpija), jaguars, ocelots, and anacondas.

During the mating season, the male sloths leave smally excretions on branches signifying a "meeting spot" for that male and a female. In addition, the females may also announce their mating readiness with a high-pitched scream. Reproduction occurs upside-down, hanging in the branches, and produces a single offspring. Mating takes place during the wet season, with the birth happening in the dry season. Gestation is approximately 11.5 months, so the newborn arrives in the dry season. Females are the sole parent to care for their young, with the male leaving soon after mating.

While the two-toed sloths are endangered, the three-toed sloths are not. Causes of this endangerment are loss of habitat, hunting, and other causes. Shelters are being placed near their habitats to rescue injured animals and restore them to living in the wild.

Size and weight

Average length: 22-27 inches

Average weight: 10-13 lbs

Top speed: 15 mph

Interesting tidbits

  • Despite their slow movement, sloths are actually avid swimmers
  • to move on land, the sloths have to drag themselves on their bellies using their claws to move them- this would allow them to cross a typical living room in just under an hour!
  • As well as all of their normal diet foods, sloths can also eat the algae that grows on them

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