Articles
5 Reasons Why Sloths Are Spectacular
5 Reasons Sloths are Spectacular

 

 

These animals have a reputation for being slow—but they’ll quickly amaze you. Here are five cool things about sloths.

 

Can't get enough? Watch a video about saving cute baby sloths!

1. Some sloths really turn heads.

sloth1

Photograph by Tamifreed, Dreamstime

 

Most mammals have seven vertebrae—a type of bone—in their necks. Three-toed sloths have eight or nine. The extra vertebrae give the animals more neck flexibility. The three-toed sloth can actually turn its head almost all the way around!

 

 

2. These animals are amazing hosts.

sloth2

Photograph by Jozev, iStockphoto

 

Sloth fur is home to a whole ecosystem, or community of living things. Tiny animals burrow into a sloth’s hair to eat delicious algae that often grows there. Hundreds of moths, beetles, cockroaches, and worms can reportedly be found on some sloths.

 

 

3. They're living the high life.

sloth3

Photograph by Photopitu, Dreamstime

 

These guys spend most of their time in treetops, only leaving about once a week for bathroom breaks. Moms even give birth while hanging from tree branches. The newborns then crawl to their moms’ bellies, where they hang out for the next several months.

 

 

4. Sloths are sometimes sporty.

sloth4

Photograph by James Christensen, Minden Pictures

 

The animals have been known to drop from the branches they’re clinging to into rivers below to take a swim, an activity they seem to enjoy. And sloths are surprisingly skilled at this water sport. They move three times faster in water than on land.

 

 

5. These guys can stomach a lot.

sloth5

Photograph by Vilainecrevette, Dreamstime

 

Sloths have big stomachs with four separate chambers. When full, the animal’s tummy makes up 20 to 30 percent of its body weight. A sloth’s stomach is actually similar to a cow’s. But it takes a sloth ten times longer to digest food.

 

 

Text by Andrea Silen, NGS Staff

See them all    

You don't need a special reason to check them out now!

Which is the cutest tree-dwelling animal? 

EDUCATORS DIVE DEEPER

More about sloths!