If sloths were a normal person, they would probably never have to go to school because of their lateness. This arboreal animal sleeps up to 20 hours a day! And even when awake, sloth barely moves at all. In fact, they are so slow and lazy that they grow moss all over their bodies. Continue to explore this interesting animal with Top10theworld.com now!
Introduction to sloth
Sloths are a suborder of medium-sized mammals belonging to the two-toed sloth family and the three-toed sloth family with a total of six species.
The common characteristics of sloths are slowness and inactivity and have a rather dull, apathetic appearance, but this is an evolution to adapt to their habitat, especially those that are not. If they have a lot of nutrients, they must conserve energy by restricting movement. They sleep about 10 hours a day, eat very moderation with a diet mainly green vegetables.
Origin of Sloths
The current sloth is related to the ground sloth, the extinct ancient sloth. They had no fangs, lived on the ground, and were related to today’s sloths. Ground sloths have sharp claws that can stand upright on their hind legs. They are nearly 6m long and weigh 4 tons, equal to the weight of an African elephant. Ground sloths are mammals, slow-moving and herbivorous. The sharp claws help it to cling to branches to hook leaves to eat.
The sloths living in the trees today are descendants of the mammal sloths, which are quite large. When terrestrial food was no longer abundant, these ancient sloths began snooping out to sea in search of food. When food was scarce, the ancient sloths could dive into the sea to nibble on seaweed in shallow water and then be able to wade further and dive deeper. However, sloths do not completely switch to living in the marine environment, but it is only a temporary solution when difficult.
The common feature of sloths is slowness and inactivity, along with a rather “dumb” appearance. Indifference to everything around makes many people think that they are slow to evolve and lag behind in the development of other animals.
As their name suggests, sloths are pretty lazy. Laziness uses less energy. Its movements are always slow to the point of being motionless and immersed in the environment. When moving on land, the fastest speed it can reach is 160m/h. Its movement looks like the slow motion technique used in cinema.
Their tree climbing speed is 4m/min. In dangerous situations such as being hunted, sloths can accelerate to a maximum of 4.5m/min. On the ground, they walk even slower, only crawling about 3m per minute. Swimming is probably the sport they play best. Sloths in the water can move at speeds of up to 13.5 meters per minute.
It is so slow that plants can grow on it. Its digestive system is as slow as its body. Occasionally, sloths also crawl to the ground to find water to drink and go to the toilet, but very little. It goes to the ground once a week to remove waste. They are so lazy that, when there are many sloths, when they die, their bodies still hang on the trees and do not fall to the ground.
Sloths are the laziest animals on the planet
The sloth’s toes are bent inward to hang on the tree and do not need to cling to anything. They simply hook their claws through the branches. Sloths have 3 extra bones in the neck and internal organs have a special structure, so they can sleep in a hanging position and put their head on their chest for a long time. They are the most relaxing animals. They can sleep more than 20 hours a day. Monkeys sometimes brush each other’s fur, sloths don’t.
Even if their fur is covered with moss, they don’t care. When giving birth, their children just lie and sleep on the mother sloth’s belly, and eat, and defecate right on its mother’s body. When the forests are flooded, they can also swim to find other branches, but this is also very rare.
However, sometimes the characteristic image of lazy creatures sleeping most of the day can also change, instead of sleeping more than 16 hours a day as observed in captivity, sloths in nature sleeps less than 10 hours, sloths only sleep 9.6 hours a day, they may still be slow in their movement speed but in terms of sleep they are not entirely unusual, animals kept in captivity often sleep more because they have all their needs satisfied.
Body features of sloths
Sloths live in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Their long, shaggy arms make them look like monkeys at first glance. They range in length from 0.6 to 0.8 meters and weigh from 3.6 to 7.7 kg depending on the species
Sloths can distinguish colors but have poor eyesight and hearing. Therefore, they must find food based on touch and smell. This species also has a very low metabolic rate (less than half that of other mammals). Sloths are endothermic animals, that is, their body temperature can vary depending on the environment, usually between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius, but can also drop to 20 degrees Celsius.
Sloths are divided into two main species, one with two claws on its front legs and one with three. They are quite similar in appearance with a round head, sleepy sleepy eyes, tiny ears and a stout tail. The size of the sloth breed has two larger toes. Most of this species’ time is spent hanging upside down from tree branches. Like the three-toed sloth, it likes to sit upright on the branches. The three-toed sloth’s face color makes it look like it’s smiling all the time. They also have two more cervical vertebrae so they can rotate their heads to see up to 270 degrees
Some scientists think that sloths’ slow behavior makes them less noticeable by predators like hawks and cats. In addition to providing nutrients for the hair, the moss growing on the body of this species is also an extremely good camouflage “coat” among the dense green trees.
Lazy very rarely moves. About once a week, they go underground and clean their bodies by slowly pulling dirt out of their bodies with their claws. In the case of being caught by predators, this species will quickly turn from a slow person to a true “professional boxer”, they bite and use their claws to slash continuously at the opponent after that shouted loudly.
Sloth uses its long arms to wade through water, cross rivers and swim across islands. They can also lower their metabolism and slow their heart rate down to normal by up to three times to easily dive underwater for 40 minutes.
Like the two-toed sloth, it only gives birth to one child per litter. In the first six months, the young still have three toes, and it is not until 12 months later that they appear with two toes. Female sloths usually give birth to one individual per year, but sometimes, due to their slow moving speed, even though more than a year has passed, they still cannot find a mate.
Males and females do not have too obvious differences in appearance, so many zoos used to be confused in breeding this species.
The average lifespan of two-toed sloths in the wild is 20 years, and can be up to 30 years in captivity.
The diet of sloths is very poor in terms of nutrition, along with slow movement in search of food, so they need a large stomach and many chambers to accommodate. foods. Sloths can take months to digest a meal, and it needs a sedentary lifestyle to keep energy catabolism as low as possible, which often lowers the sloth’s body temperature. down very low. When their body temperature drops too low, their gut bacteria will stop working, meaning that even though they have eaten enough for a whole month, sloths can still die of hunger, because the food in their digestive tracts they are not digested.
They spend most of their lives just eating, sleeping and resting on the canopy of the rainforest. Most herbivores often supplement with more energy-rich foods such as fruits and nuts. But sloths, especially three-toed sloths, depend almost entirely on leaves. They have developed a sophisticated strategy to adapt to this tight diet.
First, they try to get the most out of their food. Sloths have a multi-chambered stomach that takes up a third of their body, they can spend from 5 to 7 days, even weeks, to digest a meal.
Sloths have a clever symbiosis strategy
Because of the lack of defense or fast movement speed, to evade enemies sloths choose camouflage. They feed in their plumage an entire ecosystem that includes symbiotic algae, numerous microorganisms, arthropods and a species of moth.
Moths that live on the sloth stem, perching on it along with the color of the algae can fool other predators that the sloth is just part of the stem. In addition, they are mostly immobile or slow to work, which strengthens that camouflage skill.
The problem is that when the moths lay eggs, they need a sheltered, warm, and nutrient-rich place to feed the larvae. Then there is no place as convenient as the sloth’s own dung pit.
As a double job, when the butterflies mature from the dung pit and fly up to land on the sloth, they bring nutrients from the sloth’s droppings to feed the microbial and algae communities that live on it.
That’s why sloths have to be picky about toileting.
Threats that sloths face
Although not all sloth species are endangered, some of the six species of sloths are threatened by habitat loss. Deforestation in the rainforests of South and Central America endangers the trees on which sloths rely for food and shelter. Through a program called ARPA for Life, WWF helped the Brazilian government create a $215 million fund to ensure that the 150 million acres of Brazil’s Amazon forest are properly managed.
Sloths spend most of their time in the canopy, coming down only once a week to relieve themselves. The trees provide a natural protection from predators such as jaguars and eagles; safer for sloths that are motionless and camouflaged on the ground. However, they will venture down on rare occasions to find more food or a mate.
As animal lovers, spend a lot of time researching the behavior, characteristics and habitat of sloths. Top10theworld.com team hopes to bring useful knowledge to you.