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.


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1. Some sloths really turn heads.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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