Native to Central and South America, sloths eat, sleep, mate, give birth and raise their young while hanging upside-down in trees. The slowest mammals in existence, they can walk on the ground but only with extremely awkward and unwieldy movements. They’re much better swimmers. Some of their adaptations differ slightly, but both sloth families — two-toed and three-toed — are uniquely suited to their slow-paced, arboreal lives.
The three-toed and the two-toed sloths are from two different families of animals, with their last known common ancestor having existed over 30 million years ago.
There are six species types of sloths:
- Pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus)
- Maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus)
- Pale-throated sloth (Bradypus tridactylus)
- Brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus)
- Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus)
- Hoffman’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)
Behavior of the Sloth
These animals spend the vast majority of their time alone, and only interact with other sloths to breed. They spend most of their time in and around their “home” modal tree, where they browse for food and sleep.
Reproduction of the Sloth
Different sloth species have different gestation lengths. The female will give birth upside down, normally to a single baby. The baby will nurse for a month, but begins to taste solid foods after just ten days.
When a female is ready to reproduce, she begins to call at night to any males in the area. The first male to reach her will be the one she breeds with. If multiple males arrive at the same time, they battle in a comically slow fashion, and the female mates with the winner.
Baby sloths cling to their mothers’ stomachs until they are about three weeks old, then they begin to hang upside down on their own. Depending on the species, the baby will remain with its mother anywhere from six months to two years.
Sloths mate and give birth in trees. Courting starts when a female yells a shrill, monotone mating scream to let the males in the area know she is ready. If more than one male answers this call, the suitors will fight for her by hanging from branches by their feet and swiping at each other.
The male leaves after mating. Barely born, the baby sloth grabs the mom’s fur and quickly finds her breast in search of milk. Mother-sloth is caring and tender to her child, Baby sloths cling to their mothers’ stomachs until they are about three weeks old, then they begin to hang upside down on their own. They cling to their mother’s belly until they are able to feed themselves, which can take anywhere from five weeks to six months. Even after they stop dangling from their mother, little sloths stay by their mother’s side for two to four years, depending on their species.
She generally does not leave her own trees and just waits for a suitor to arrive. Then, once a gentleman makes his way up to her, it is basically first come first served without any posturing or foreplay. It is this feature that I have designed a popup card a female sloth receiving the love of the male sloth with the words “i love you” on the red heart.
This charming sloth couple is ideas as a sloth gift to a loved one for a Valentine’s Day, to your family, friends, colleagues & loved ones.
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Source: animals.net; livescience.com; worldwildlife.org;