15 Interesting Sloth Facts for Kids
It’s no surprise that sloths seem like the world’s laziest animals, named after one of the Seven Deadly Sins, sloths were dubbed “the lowest form of existence” when scientists first reported them in the scientific literature in 1749! Since then, we’ve discovered that sloths are far from simple, sluggish creatures who spend their days sleeping, instead, they’re intricate, intriguing creatures with a strange evolutionary history!
- The two-toed sloth and the three-toed sloth are the two forms of sloths, and they are divided into six species. These are the different species:
- Pale-throated sloth (Bradypus tridactylus)
- Brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus)
- Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus)
- Hoffman’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)
- Pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus)
- Maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus)
The pygmy sloth is highly endangered, whereas the maned sloth is on the verge of extinction.
- Did you know?
There are also extinct sloths. One of the extinct ground sloths is seen in the figure below. This was a sizable herd of animals. The enormous ground sloth, Megatherium was one of the world’s largest land mammals. It stood up to 6 meters tall and weighed over 4 tonnes!
- Sloths belong to the Pilosa order, which includes anteaters and armadillos. The suborder Folivora includes sloths, which are arboreal Neotropical xenarthran mammals.
- They can grow to be 2 to 2.5 feet (0.6 to 0.8 meters) long and weigh anywhere from 8 to 17 pounds depending on the species (3.6 to 7.7 kilograms).
- Sloths are excellent swimmers! They’ll come down from their treetop perches and glide into water bodies near them for a quick swim. They do this to splash about and clean themselves a little.
- Sloths usually live in rainforests and tropical climates.
The habitats of sloths are scattered all over Central and South America. They spend their lives in these tropical woods. The more constant the rainfall and the denser the trees, the better it is for sloths. You can find the habitats of the three-toed sloth in the high canopies of Central and South American rainforests, as well as near water sources such as rivers.
Certain three-toed sloths, such as the brown-throated three-toed sloth, live in various environments including rainforests, semi-deciduous forests, subtropical lowlands, and swamps. Other species like the pygmy three-toed sloth have a minimal range. As a result, they live only on one island off Panama’s Caribbean coast.
- Sloths are habitats for a lot of creatures themselves!
Sloths are a habitat in and of themselves. The sloth’s slow movement and thick fur make it an ideal environment for other animals. These species include moths, beetles, cockroaches, fungi, and algae. Their long, thick hair may house over 900 moths and beetles at once, besides algae and fungi. In reality, the green algae act as a camouflage for sloths, allowing them to avoid predators. There’s even a moth called the sloth moth that you can’t find anywhere else on the planet.
- A sloth has a four-part stomach that takes a long time to digest the tough leaves they eat, sometimes up to a month. As a result of digesting this food, sloths have very little energy left to move about. This makes it one of the world’s slowest moving creatures.
- Sloth mothers carry their children for the first six months of their life. They learn to eat and migrate across treetops during this phase. They can converse with their mother by calling out to each other after six months.
- Sloths cannot move their eyes, but a fun fact is that they can rotate their head up to 270 degrees! This is a neat and handy trick, especially when they have to swim or come down to the forest floor.
- Earlier, scientists thought that sloths sleep for almost 20 hours a day. But, we now know that sloths sleep for about 10 hours a day – not much more than a tiny toddler!
- The body temperature of two-toed sloths is the most changeable of any mammal!
The temperature of their bodies can fluctuate from 22 to 33 degrees Celsius. This means that, compared to other animals like humans, their bodies are more stable within a larger range of limits. Sloths are one of a kind because of this. Mammals may usually control mammalian body temperatures to a small degree. To maintain their body temperature, they lose energy by shivering when chilly.
- Usually, in the wild, sloths live for around 10 to 16 years. In captivity, they can live for around 30 years.
- In bright sunshine, sloths are blind. They can see better by staying in shady canopies and by being active at night.
- Once a week, sloths head down to the forest floor. They do this to remove waste from their body. Unfortunately, they only do this once a week. On the forest floor, they are not guarded against predators. This is why sloths prefer to spend their time high in the canopy of the rainforest.
In conclusion, sloths are super interesting creatures with many cool features and characteristics. They are unique animals that are loved and appreciated the world over. We hope you had fun with these cool sloth facts!