The Three-Toed Sloth Canvas Print
The three-toed Sloth are medium-sized mammals belonging to the families Megalonychidae (two-toed sloth) and Bradypodidae (three-toed sloth), classified into six species. They are part of the order Pilosa as well as are therefore related to anteaters, which support a similar set of particular claws. Extant sloths are arboreal (tree-dwelling) residents of the jungles of Central and South America, and are recognized for being slow-moving, and hence named "sloths". Extinct sloth species include various ground sloths, a number of which attained the magnitude of elephants. I didn’t even know that fact until now. Sloths bring about a good habitat for other organisms, as a consequence a single sloth may be home to moths, beetles, cockroaches, ciliates, fungi, and algae. Sloths are classified as folivores, because the bulk of their diets consist of buds, tender shoots, and leaves, mainly of Cecropia trees. Some two-toed sloths have been documented as eating insects, small reptiles, and birds as a small supplement to their diets. They have complete extraordinary adaptations to an arboreal browsing lifestyle. Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrients, plus do not digest easily. Sloths, therefore, contain large, specialized, slow-acting stomachs with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria break down the tough leaves. Since much as two-thirds of a well-fed sloth's body weight consists of the contents of its stomach, and the digestive process can take a month or more to complete. Seeing as leaves present little energy, sloths deal with this by a range of economy measures: they have very low metabolic rates (less than half of that expected for a mammal of their size), and retain low body temperatures when active (30-34°C or 86-93°F), as well as still lower temperatures when resting. Though unable to survive outside the tropical rainforests of South and Central America, within that environment sloths are exceptionally successful creatures. Four of the six living species are presently rated "least concern"; the maned three-toed sloth (Bradypus torquatus), which inhabits Brazil's dwindling Atlantic Forest, is classified as "endangered", while the island-dwelling pygmy three-toed sloth (B. pygmaeus) is critically endangered. So if you happen to see a Three-Toed Sloth, give him a hug. This image was taken out side of Tortuguero National Park Costa Rica.