Q:

Where do sloths live?

A:

Quick Answer

Sloths live in the rainforests of Central and South America. Two species of sloth live there today: the two-toed sloth and the three-toed sloth.

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Where do sloths live?
Credit: Carol Schaffer Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Both the two-toed sloth and the three-toed sloth are nocturnal and move so slowly that algae has a chance to grow on them. Because of this, they often look grey-green, when in reality, they are a brown-grey color.

Sloths are rarely bothered by predators. Because they are slow-moving creatures and due to the way they hang in the trees with their arms and legs drawn up tightly around them, they remain hidden from dangerous predators such as jaguars. Sloths are arboreal, meaning they are tree dwelling and rarely make it down to the ground; this too keeps them safe.

Sloths are herbivores, eating things such as leaves, fruit and young twigs. Besides algae, they make a good home for other organisms such as cockroaches, fungi and beetles.

Today's sloths are direct descendants of giant sloths that used to live on the ground. These giant sloths were the size of elephants and posed a threat to animals living around them. They had thick joints and huge claws, meaning they were a formidable opponent for all predators. Many scientists, including paleontologists, believe humans were the cause of giant sloths becoming extinct.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do sloths move so slow?

    A:

    Sloths move slowly because of their herbivorous diet, slow metabolism and small muscle mass. Sloths are able to move fast, but they have to burn an enormous amount of energy in order to do so. The sloth diet lacks fats and proteins, which are important sources of energy and nutrition.

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  • Q:

    Why are sloths so slow?

    A:

    Sloths are slow because they have extremely low metabolic rates. In other words, they have very little energy and move slowly in order to conserve the energy that is available. This is due in part to their herbivorous diets.

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  • Q:

    What are some adaptations of sloths?

    A:

    According to Conserve Nature, some of the adaptations of the sloth are long arms, curved feet, curved claws and a slow metabolism. These adaptations help the sloth to not only survive, but thrive in its habitat.

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  • Q:

    What do sloths eat?

    A:

    Sloths eat leaves, shoots and fruits from trees and get most of their water from juicy plants. They are called folivores, since their diet consists of buds, tender shoots and leaves of the Cecropia tree. Some two-toed sloths eat insects, small reptiles and birds.

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