I accomplished a bucket list activity recently – seeing sloths! They are really quite amazing and move a lot faster than I expected. And I was fortunate to learn more about them.
Sloths have been around for millions of years. They used to be quite large, and at that time were one of the only creatures who could eat whole avocados. It’s thanks to them that we have avocados today because they spread the seeds all around!
Sloths hang on to trees so well that some actually die still holding on to the tree (and don’t fall off even then.) They survive entirely on leaves and, in particular, young leaves, which also give them all the water they need. They can swing from tree to tree, but if required, they are also strong swimmers and can cross a river.
They may stay in the same group of trees for a week, and always are alone except when mating. The females have all the power. When they want to mate, they either whistle (3-toed sloth) or emit pheromones (2-toed sloth) and the males come a-swinging. Whatever male arrives first wins and gets to mate with the female. They are not monogamous, so once done, the male will be off to another conquest, and the next time the female wants to mate, it will be with another male.
Mothers stay with their young for 6 or 12 months, depending on which species of sloth.
The 3-toed sloth has the face that looks like it is always smiling. Their claws are very sharp. If they go out in traffic, cars stop and wait for the sloth to get to safety. 🙂