Slowwww down for International Sloth Day!2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Every year on October 20, our favourite tree huggers, the adorable sloth, remind us to slow down and take it easy. International Sloth Day celebrates the slow-moving mammal that is found in Central and South America. Let’s learn a little about the sloth. For starters, did you know that there are two different types of sloths – two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths. Under these two broad types, there are six different species of sloth, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
- Pygmy three-toed sloth
- Maned sloth
- Pale-throated sloth
- Brown-throated sloth
- Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth
- Hoffman’s two-toed sloth
Why are sloths so slow?
Sloths are one of the slowest moving mammals on the planet. This is due to their very slow metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy used by an animal per unit of time. They use less than half the energy typically used by an animal of their weight. Due to this special metabolism, they need to store their energy, which is why they move so slow and not too far.
Are sloths quick at anything at all?
Despite their general sluggish lifestyle, you’d be surprised to learn that sloths are quite fast in the water. Though this skill is not of much use in the daily life of a sloth, as they live on trees and don’t eat anything in the water, swimming is a basic survival skill for them. The rainforests they call home are prone to flooding, and so swimming comes in handy. Interestingly, they are faster at swimming than climbing trees!
Here are some interesting facts about sloths:
- Found in tropical rainforests, sloths move through canopies at a rate of 40 yards per day, which is about 37 metres.
- Sloths spend most of their day sleeping. They sleep for about 15 to 20 hours a day!
- Sloths have been around longer than you think. Millions of years ago, giant ground sloths roamed the planet. Some were nearly 20 feet long!
- They love being upside down while hanging from branches – they eat, sleep and even give birth upside down!
- Sloths come down from the tree top homes just once a week to ahem… poop!