Who is the slowest animal on Earth? The sloth, of course! This cutie is so slow that thanks to this he became famous all over the world.
Sloth fur and body facts
They have long and stiff fur that sometimes has a greenish color. This is because algae grow in their fur very well. This is a mutually beneficial symbiosis because algae get a suitable habitat, and their presence in the fur makes sloths less prominent. Interestingly, the fur is directed towards the spine, unlike all other mammals. An adult specimen usually weighs 9-18 pounds (4-9 kilos).
They are loners
Sloths give birth to one cub, which spends the first 4 months on the mother’s belly. By the age of 2.5, he becomes completely independent. They prefer a solitary lifestyle and rarely encounter each other, but when they meet, they are friendly, and they even tend to feel affection for each other.
Sloth habitat facts
Three-toed sloths live mainly in the rain forests of North and South America, in particular, in Costa Rica. These animals spend most of their lives in trees, almost without moving. Once a week they come down to the ground to move around and leave droppings. They are difficult to detect because of their immobility.
Sloth claws facts
These animals have very long claws, they can grow up to 3-4 inches (7,5-10 cm). The claws are very strong and sharp. Sloths use them to hold on tightly to the trees and vines on which they move. They never use them for attack or defense because of their slowness, sloths are completely defenseless against predators.
They are lovely but not smart
The skull has two sections, one of which contains a small brain with almost no gyruses. The fact is that the plant-based diet of sloths provides them with only a small amount of energy. The brain consumes a lot of energy, so they kept its activity to a minimum.
Sloths swim faster than they walk
Well, they don’t like to do that, but they are capable of swimming when necessary. More than that, sloths swim faster than they move on trees or the ground! They can swim at 2.5 miles per hour speed (4 km/h) but on the ground or in trees their top speed is about 0.15 mph (0.27 km/h). Only in case of a threat, by the way. Normally they are even slower.
Sloth diet facts
These animals aren’t vegetarians. They mostly eat leaves, but they can also eat an insect or a lizard if they have a chance. The leaves are difficult to digest and have very low caloric and nutritional value. The eaten leaves are digested in the stomach of a sloth for about 90 hours! Up to ⅔ of the body weight of a well-fed sloth may fall on food in the stomach!
Life in the rain forests is in full swing, and many animals living here have a short life span. However, sloths live up to 10-20 years in the wild, and they can live up to 40 years in captivity. Their slow metabolism also contributes to their longevity. Fish living in the cold northern seas live for a very long time for a similar reason.