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The two-toed sloth is one of the strangest mammals in the world. They spend most of their time hanging upside-down in a tree. There are seven species of sloth divided into two and three-toed varieties. The sloth lives in woodland areas and along riverbanks in areas where the plant “trumpetwood” grows. The two-toed sloth lives from Venezuela to Brazil in South America.
The two-toed sloth is nocturnal and lives in slow motion but is a little more agile than the three-toed. Both move so slow that some people say they can live all their life in the same tree. They hang by means of long, curved claws that resemble meat hooks. Their legs are long, particularly the front legs. The two-toed sloth get their name because they have two claws on the front foot and three on the back foot. Besides using the claws to hang, they can defend themselves by slashing out with their long, curved claws. They can also bite. They have nine teeth on each side of their cheek. These teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime.
The sloth’s head is round and can turn 270 degrees, so it can hold it almost upright while the rest of its body is upside-down. The neck of the two-toed is shorter than the three-toed but is still quite long and flexible. The sloth’s eyes and ears are small. The coat of the sloth is dense and coarse, gray-brown in color with white and orange markings on its back. On some species the hair has a greenish tint because of algae growing on it. There is also a moth that lives in its hair.
Details are important to the Creator. God designed the sloth’s hair to lie in the opposite direction to that of most mammals allowing rain to run off of its body.
Their diet is trumpetwood leaves and fruit which it locates by smell. They rarely drop to the ground. They do not walk well on the ground but shuffle along dragging themselves with their hands. They can swim well, however.
Their enemies include the jaguar and ocelot. The breeding season is March and April. After a gestation period of 17 to 26 weeks, a single baby is born. The baby immediately attaches itself to its mother and stays there until old enough to leave. There is not a lot of information known about the young. These creatures are very shy and do not come into contact with humans, particularly because it is nocturnal.
Edentata • Bradypodidae • Choloepus didactylus
Length: 21–29 inches (53–74 cm)
Weight: 9 to 20 pounds (4–9 kg)
Life Span: 20 years
Special Design Feature: The sloth can turn its head 270 degrees so that even when hanging upside-down, the head is almost upright.
Did You Know? The sloth spends most of its time hanging upside-down in trees, very seldom coming to the ground.