Animals / Mammal Facts / Sloths - The Sleepiest of All Creatures

Sloths - The Sleepiest of All Creatures


three-toed

 

The slowest of mammals spend most of their days hanging upside down from trees, but not too high in the trees (they'd have to make an extra effort to climb very far up) which is why you'll usually only find them about 5 or 6 feet above ground. There are two main groups, the two-toed sloth and the three-toed. The two-toed has two appendages on its front paws and a three-toed surprisingly enough has three appendages on its front paws. These "toes" however look more like big hooked claws in appearance. The have flat heads and often appear to be smilingly contentedly. A sloth is about the size of a medium size dog. Their upside down lifestyle causes their hair to part on their belly as opposed to across their spine, and evidently their hair is a grand place for other creatures to call home. Since they don’t move around a lot, living on them is a pretty easy task. Butterflies, moths and beetles, to name a few, live in perfect harmony on a sloth. Its so slow that algae grow on its hair and the insects feed on it. It doesn’t seem bothered by it, or if it is, its much too lazy to let on.

 

 

sloth hanging

 

Energy Conservation

An expert in energy conservation, they move only to find food and or as needed for other natural body functions. This is necessary because their diet and digestion does not provide them with much energy. The climbing speed of the average sloth when not threatened with danger is about 6 feet per minute. They sleep the majority of any 24 hour period. They do not come down out of their tree homes too often because their long lanky limbs, perfect for hanging, cannot support their body weight on the ground so they have to drag themselves with their front arms – (this requires work and they are not big on work, so they just stay put.) Sometimes an individual will die hanging upside down from a tree limb and remain so after death, until they decompose or are forcibly removed. They do not romp around through the rainforest looking for fun, they are perfectly content to hang upside down and munch away on leaves. They do not have any front teeth, only molars and really rough lips to tear leaves off the trees.

 

two-toed

Two-Toed Sloth

 

Labor and Delivery

Even labor and delivery is uneventful for this creature. Delivery takes about 15-30 minutes, birthing occurs in the upside down position and mom just reaches out and catches baby when the baby is born. The baby will stay with mom for a total of 9 months but only the first month is spent nursing. They begin eating moms favorite leaves after the first month. They are born with the molars in place.

It seems as if the slothful creatures cannot hear very well, or maybe they are just too disinterested to listen, but their sense of smell is fabulous when food is involved.

Their lifestyle promotes longevity; they live up to 30 years in captivity. Maybe being slothful is not a deadly sin but instead a smart lifestyle choice, for tree dwellers.

 

 

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