interesting sloth facts

July 26, 2010 | In: Animal facts for kids

Sloths are a member of the order Edentata, which technically means “without teeth”, although Sloths have small, simple molars with which they use to masticate food.

Sloths are herbivores, and, like the other familes in the order Edentata, do not hunt other mammals (although some species of Armadillos have been known to make use of previously slaughtered animals).

Sloths are found in the tropical areas of Central and South America.

Sloths are only a few feet in length, have four long legs, a short, snub snout, large eyes, and rudimentary ears.

The Sloth is world-renowned for its title as “slowest animal on Earth”. Indeed; it moves very slowly and rarely, thus making the Sloth hard to spot from the ground (especially when partically obscured or when clinging tightly to a branch).

Individual Sloths stay within the boundries of its range of birth. Within this range, the Sloth travels less than than 125 feet (38 meters) in an entire day, and its physical movement is charactaristically sluggish and deliberate. Due to its natural upside-down clinging position, the Sloth moves very slowly on the ground – usually by dragging itself along by its claws at a snail’s pace of 15 yards per minute – and is easily attacked. Surprisingly, Sloths can swim relatively well, and their coats of fur, used to the tropical storms and rains of South America, allow for swift passage through water. Overall, the top speed of a Sloth is its climbing speed, which is surprisingly very fast in emergency situations.

Sloths are nocturnal creatures by habit and normally sleep during the day at least 15 hours or more.

Under normal circumstances, however, Sloths are docile creatures and are fairly safe from most predators. Two-Toed Sloths are, unfortunately, hunted by humans in some areas for their meat, and both are very much at risk due to the destruction of tropical rain forest areas, which they rely on for their home and food supply.

Female Sloths usually give birth to only one offspring per year. Gestation times differ between the species: Hoffman’s Two-Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmani) is the highest at 11.5 months, while Linne’s Two-Toed Sloth (Choloepus Didactylus) and those Sloths in the Bradypus genus clock in at around 6 months.

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