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10 SLOTHTASTIC FUN FACTS ABOUT SLOTHS
sloth facts1) Sloths are arboreal animals. This means that they live or spend their days mainly on trees. They only come down if it is time for them to urinate or defecate, which only happens once a week.
2) It was once thought that sloths spend about 15 to 20 hours a day sleeping. It was recently discovered, however, that sloths actually only sleep around 10 hours a day.
3) They are vulnerable to predation because they urinate and defecate at the same spot each time. There have been a lot of speculations regarding this behavior. Some says it is because it is easier for them to find one another especially on mating seasons. It was also observed that they defecate near the trunk of the tree, probably to fertilize the tree, which is their source of food.
4) The two-toed and three-toed sloths are very similar in appearance, except that the two-toed sloths grow a bit bigger. Though they are similar in form and function, it’s thought that it may be a case of parallel evolution that has caused this as they aren’t actually very closely related.
5) Their main predators are eagles, snakes, and jaguars. Although they may seem very vulnerable to these animals, sloths are actually quite safe from them because they live most of their life on top of trees and their color blends well with the branches and leaves. Their sluggishness also works to their advantage because it makes them less noticeable. However, going down from their safety haven does pose a risk for predation.
6) You all know that sloths move very slow, but just how slow is it? According to experts, the average speed of a sloth is 2 meters per minute along the ground, while through trees it is slightly faster, 3 meters per minute. They move faster when they are in danger from a predator, but at 4 meters per minute, it is unlikely that they can outrun a jaguar and so they go into a defense mode, which consists of biting, slashing, and shrieking.
7) Algae grow on their fur which makes them the only green mammals though the color isn’t their own. This algae provides a camouflage for them to avoid predators. However, aside from algae, a host of other non-parasitic insects can sometimes live on their fur, like cockroaches and beetles.
8) The sloths’ diet, consisting mainly of leaves, provides them with very little energy and nutrition. This is why they move very slowly to conserve the energy in their body. In addition, their bodies react to this low-energy diet by slowing down its metabolic rate and lowering its temperature.
9) Three-toed sloths are now becoming extinct and studies have shown that is not because of predators, but due to humans’ intervention in their habitat. If left in the wild, sloths can successfully live for up to 20 years.
10) Sloths are the cutest animals in the world. Okay, that might not be a “fact” per se, but you know it’s true.
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