Two-Toed Sloth

Two-toed sloth

Choloepus didactylus

Quick Facts

Two-toed sloth

Found:  South America
Size: Two feet
Weight: 10 to 25 pounds
Diet:  leaves, shoots, fruit
Life Span:  10 to 12 years
Status:  Common

Sloths are very well adapted to life in the trees but awkward when they walk on the ground, dragging themselves forward with their long limbs.  However, they can swim well.  Sloths can conserve energy by adjusting their body temperatures from 83 degrees to 93 degrees dropping on cool nights or during periods of inactivity.  They spend so much time upside down that they are the only mammal whose fur parts on their belly and flows to its back.  This also allows water to run-off during the frequent rains.  The two-toed sloth does everything while hanging upside down from trees--eating, sleeping, mating, and even giving birth. The only time it comes to the ground is to move to another tree or when it has to poop and pee, which it does maybe only once a week.  With their low-energy diet of leaves and occasional fruit, sloths move slowly and sleep 15 hours a day to conserve energy.   They have a powerful grip.  Their long claws curve around tree branches and holds them in place.  Even after a sloth dies, it sometimes remains hanging in the trees by its long claws.

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