Sloth- the animal, not the sin

I recently travelled to Central America, where I was delighted to see many sloths- both in the wild and rescued ones in rehabilitation.

three-toed (Bradypus) sloth hugs

Choloepus the two-toed sloth

I just wanted to share these pictures cause they make me smile.  The sloths above were injured (by telephone wires, people, animals, cars etc) and are taken care of in Monteverde at the Sloth Sanctuary, being that they are not able to take care of themselves on their own.  They happily hang out (and I mean “hang out” literally- their claws give them a death-grip) perfectly still in the trees basking in sunlight, or scratch themselves for extended periods of time.

Their ability to remain perfectly still is actually one of their defences from predators… Sharp movements would give them away and make them an easy prey.  They are so slow that algae grows in their hair and camouflages them to the canopy where they spend most of their time.  They only go to the ground to do their business (about once a week), or if they have to (run out of trees).  They are really awkward walking on the ground, and even slower than usual.

I saw this one in Peurto Viejo.  He was just sitting in this tree while we were on a walk.  He was still there, four hours later, on the way back.

There are a few more varieties of sloths, but Bradypus and Choloepus are the most common.  They are really interesting creatures and I loved them.  They look like they are always smiling.  If you are ever down there I would recommend going to one of the sanctuaries and learning about them.  If you go to Peurto Viejo, you can volunteer (for a minimum of 2 weeks) to help young, injured ones and get a hug.  They call it a Slothpital.  I would be really jealous.


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