A sloth is a creature that does not take up too much space in your thoughts, which is unfair, since it is the only animal that performs all the necessary maneuvers at a very slow pace but at the same time looks like an incredible bully. Here are 10 facts about the most apathetic animal in the world to correct this inaccurate attitude towards sloths.
Fact No. 1
Sloths move only when it is absolutely necessary.
They can sleep up to 20 hours a day, hanging from a tree or curling up near a branch.
Fact No. 2
Sloths only poop once a week, and when they do they lose up to 1/5th of their body weight. Pooping for sloths is also responsible for 50% of their deaths, as being down on the ground is a vulnerable time for them. Overall, the entire trip to poop uses 8% of their daily energy needs.
Fact No. 3
The maximum speed of three-fingered sloths is 1 meter per minute.
This means that it would take a sloth one and a half hours to cross the football field.
Fact No. 4
Despite the fact that sloths are not the fastest or strongest animals in the rainforest, which they consider their home, they are better adapted to life than many others, which is the most important. Let us explain. Sloths are characterized by a very slow and efficient metabolism, which allows them to almost completely absorb nutrients from the food they eat. In addition, it seems that sloths can change their metabolism, slowing it to such an extent that the need to breathe air occurs once every half an hour. This is another reason why they are highly efficient swimmers.
A slow metabolism allows sloths to exist on a diet, eating only a few leaves a day and emptying their intestines once a week, but at the same time they cannot tremble to regulate body temperature. For most sloths, this is not a problem, because their thick fur (resembling the fur of Arctic animals), combined with the fact that it is rarely cold in the jungle, allows them to be very comfortable in the sun most of the time.
Another side effect of a slow metabolism is that sloths never gain weight, and the only place on the body of the animal where fat is deposited is its lower legs. Yes, indeed, the only thing that can make a sloth embarrassed is a chubby ankle.
Fact No. 5
Sloths are great swimmers.
Sloths have a reputation of sloppy, lazy creatures that sleep much more during the day than an unemployed cat. To begin with, this is not entirely true, since studies have shown that sloths sleep only an hour more than you and that they are surprisingly agile in the water.
It is known that sloths swim miles in search of food or a female. One sloth hanger sailed a large part of the ocean in search of a girlfriend’s heart.
Fact No. 6
South America was once inhabited by giant sloths (Megatherium). It weighed up to 4 tonnes (similar to a present-day elephant) and on its hind legs it would have stood 3.5m (12ft), which makes it the largest bipedal mammal of all time. It lived from 400 000 BC until 8 000 BC. What’s even more interesting is that there were elephant-sized sloths that lived on the ground as recently as 1 500 BC in the islands of the Caribbean, meaning that they lived alongside humans.
Fact No. 7
Poor hygiene is necessary to mask
Sloths, unlike other animals, do not look after themselves to such an extent that mold and algae begin to grow on the wool, so many representatives of this species literally turn green. As it turns out, this is a special tactic that allows the sloth to disguise themselves, since the green shade of algae and mold turns the fur into an effective natural camouflage.
The wool of clubfoot tree sloths is susceptible to damage by algae, which turns into a useful symbiotic relationship between these two organisms. Some types of sloths are so dependent on algal camouflage that their mothers specifically allow children to become infected so that they can merge effectively with the greenery of the trees. Otherwise, other creatures would think that the sloth baby is floating in the air, clinging to a piece of something green.
Fact No. 8
A sloth’s claws work the opposite way that human hand does. The default position is a tight strong grip, and sloths must exert effort to open them up. This is why sloths don’t fall out of trees when they’re asleep. Their grip is so strong when they die they sometimes remain hanging on trees.
Fact No. 9
A sloth can hold its breath for up to 40 minutes. It’s 4 times longer than a dolphin.
Sadly, there are only six species of sloths left in the world, one of which is on the verge of extinction, and the other is under threat. Therefore, the main goal of activists is to ensure the safety of these little beasts.