Recently I had the amazing opportunity to visit a sloth rescue center on our way to Puerto Viejo. First, we saw the famous sloth Buttercup and she was scratching herself at a normal speed. Not in the molasses-slow way you think a sloth would move at all. That was the start of all my preconceived notions of sloths being wrong.
Some sloth facts that will blow you away:
- Sloths can move fast as a man running… when they want to! When the time arises (to fend off predators, mating time) they pump it into overdrive.
- Sloths have a thick pelt of hair here in the tropics because they aren’t exactly warm-blooded. They have a super slow metabolism.
- There are two types of sloths in Costa Rica, two-fingered and three-fingered (they both have three toes). But they are different animals completely. Think a horse and a cow.
- Both two and three-fingered sloths eat leaves and flowers. Two fingered sloths also eat seeds and green mangos (for which they have sharp teeth).
- Sloths sleep as much as humans but just spread out through the day. Two fingered sloths are nocturnal.
- Sloths have four stomachs! Once a week they climb down the tree, dig a hole, and poop and pee.
- The mama sloth has only one baby at a time. The baby hangs on to her for one year and learns how to be a sloth. This time is super important for sloth development.
- Sloth babies sometimes fall from their moms for various reasons. Sickness, deformity, and even hyperactivity! Mama sloth will come down from the tree a few times and pick them up but eventually decides that they aren’t worth the risk and leaves the baby.
The other morning Delilah was talking about how she loves the sloth philosophy. They are super-efficient with their movements. For example, when the female sloth is in heat, the male sloth runs over to her, they mate for about forty seconds and it is 100% effective (another sloth fun fact).
That is my favorite thing; sex for forty seconds and then go to sleep right afterward! How I envy the sloth.