These slow-moving mammals spend their days lounging in the canopy of our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, often enjoying their favorite activity: sleeping. Nocturnal by nature, sloths are more active at night—but not for long! These animals can sleep up to 20 hours a day, curled up in the fork of a tree.
The Linne’s two-toed sloth is commonly found in South America’s rain forests, where it lives among the treetops for most of its life. With two claws on its front feet and three on the back, it’s perfectly designed for an arboreal life. In fact, they even mate and give birth while hanging upside-down!
In the first stage of their lives, baby sloths tend to be a bit on the clingy side. They start eating solid foods within a couple of weeks after birth but remain with their mother for nearly a year. Adults reach sexual maturity around the 3-year mark.
The National Aquarium’s two oldest sloths, Syd and Ivy, were acquired in May 2007 from a captive breeder in South Florida. Howie, Xeno and Camden were born here in 2008, 2010 and 2012, respectively. And most recently, Scout was born at the Aquarium on November 17, 2013.
Did You Know?
Sloths come down from their trees about once a week, to defecate.
Leaves, shoots, fruits and possibly an occasional egg make up the wild two-toed sloth’s diet. Here at the Aquarium, we feed our sloths green beans and other vegetables, sweet potatoes, grapes and other fruits, and a commercial diet formulated especially for leaf-eating animals.
Linne’s two-toed sloths will grow to the size of a small dog, approximately 24 to 30 inches in length and about 12 to 20 pounds in weight..
Northern South America
The Linne’s two-toed sloth is currently not threatened, but habitat loss and fragmentation of forests pose many concerns. Threats like these have endangered other species of sloth, such as the maned three-toed sloth and pygmy three-toed sloth.
Ocelots, jaguars and harpy eagles are the sloth's main predators. Some humans hunt and kill sloths for food. Forest fragmentation forces sloths to come to the ground to travel to additional food trees.
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