Latin Name - Bradypus Variegatus
Conservation Status - Least Concern
Location - Central & South America
Diet - Variety of Leaves, Flowers and Fruit
Colour - Brown/Grey
Length - 60cm (23.6 inches)
Weight - 3.5-5.2 kgs (7.7-11.5 lbs)
Life Expectancy - 30 to 40yrs
The Brown-throated Sloth is the most widespread and common of the three-toed sloths. It is found from Honduras in the north, through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama into Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil and eastern Peru.
Sloths don’t actually sleep that much at all – research has shown that on average, wild sloths only sleep for 8-10 hours a day. Rather than sleeping all day, sloths just move at an incredibly slow and consistent pace. Due to a plethora of energy saving adaptations, sloths physically don’t have the ability to move very fast. They can’t run away from predators like a monkey would and instead, they have to rely on camouflage.
What do they look like?
The brown-throated sloth is of similar size and build to most other species of three-toed sloths, with both males and females being 42 to 80 cm (17 to 31 in) in total body length. The tail is relatively short, only 2.5 to 9 cm (1.0 to 3.5 in) long. Adults weigh from 2.25 to 6.3 kg (5.0 to 13.9 lb), with no significant size difference between males and females. Each foot has three fingers, ending in long, curved claws, which are 7 to 8 cm (2.8 to 3.1 in) long on the fore feet, and 5 to 5.5 cm (2.0 to 2.2 in) on the hind feet.
The head is rounded, with a blunt nose and inconspicuous ears. As with other sloths, the brown-throated sloth has no incisor or canine teeth, and the cheek teeth are simple and peg-like. They have no gall bladder, cecum, or appendix. The brown-throated sloth has greyish-brown to beige-colour fur over the body, with darker brown fur on the throat, the sides of the face, and the forehead. The face is generally paler in colour, with a stripe of very dark fur running beneath the eyes.
are they at risk?
The sloths survival strategy is camouflage, and as a result they do not have many ways to protect themselves. Their natural predators are big cats, snakes and Harpy eagles, although few of these remain in the wild today.
The biggest problem threatening the future of wild sloth populations is the rapidly expanding human population. Every day hundreds of sloths are falling victim to the land development, urbanization, and habitat destruction occurring in South and Central America. From power line electrocutions and dog attacks, to road collisions, habitat loss and human cruelty, it is a long and sad list.