Three-Toed Sloth

juvenile three toed sloth in tree

Three-toed sloths (Bradypus spp.) are unusual looking animals that live in South American rainforest trees. They spend the majority of their time in trees, often hanging upside down from them.

They are very slow moving animals and feed on leaves, twigs, and buds. They have slow metabolisms and don't each much, and spend most of their time sleeping.

Three-toed sloths do climb down from their tree to defecate, almost always at the base of the tree that they've been eating from. It is thought that this behavior is beneficial to the rainforest because it helps to fertilize the tree, and replace the nutrients taken from the tree by the sloths feeding back into the tree.

Three-toed sloths don't groom themselves and so they usually have a variety of insects living in their fur, including moths, and they grow green algae on their fur, which helps to camouflage them from predators.

They are good swimmers, and can move much faster in water than on land.

Three-toed sloths are endangered mainly due to habitat destruction.