Sloth

[flexy_breadcrumb]

About the sloth

The sloth. They are Neotropical animals of varied size endemic to the humid forests of Central and South America. Current species can be classified into two genera: the three-toed sloths (Bradypus, Bradypodidae) and the two-toed sloths (Choloepus, Megalonychidae).

Features

In stark contrast to the anthill, the sloths have a rounded head.
The neck has six cervical vertebrae in the two-toed sloth (Choloepus) and nine or ten in the three-toed (Bradypus). The anterior teeth are absent and the posterior ones are rows of cylindrical protuberances, all of them approximately equal, devoid of enamel cover, but which have acquired a crushing surface and continuous growth.
The forelegs are longer than the hind legs and are provided with hooked nails to hang from the branches.
The three-toed sloth has a small tail while the two-toed one lacks it. Their claws measure 8 to 10 cm and function as grip tools, as well as for defense
Cyanobacteria (Cyanoderma) and chlorophyll algae (Trichophilus) grow frequently on their hair, which gives them a greenish color that contributes, together with their slow movement, to go unnoticed against predators.1
The size of the lazy varies according to gender. The two-toed one is larger with a body length between 58 and 70 cm and a weight between 4 and 8 kg. For its part, the three-toed sloth measures approximately 45 cm in length, weighing between 3.5 and 4.5 kg.2

Feeding

Sloths are classified as leaf-eater, since the bulk of their diet consists mainly of buds, tender shoots and leaves, mainly of trees of the genus Cecropia.
The sloths are completely adapted to the arboreal life, moving very slowly between the branches. They walk with great difficulty on the ground. The leaves, its main source of food, provide very little energy and nutrients, and do not digest them easily. For this reason the sloth have slow-acting stomachs, very large and specialized, with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria inhabit that break down hard leaves. Your digestion can take a month or more to complete.
The resemblance of sloths to primates is only apparent, since it has no close relationship with them, which is a good example of convergent evolution. They are related to anteaters.