TYPES OF SLOTHS – Sloths are mammals that are classified in the families’ Megaloncychidae and Bradypodidae. There is a total of 6 specials of Sloths. These 6 species split in two types of groups; the two-toed sloths and the three-toed sloths.
There are two species who are in the two-toed sloths, and there are four species in the three-toed sloths. There were more species of sloths, however due to destruction of the forests by natural and mankind they have extinct.
The two-toed sloths are nocturnal, the three-toed sloths are diurnal. However, few of these species are also in risks of extinction, and if nothing can be done to protect these animals and their environment, then they might as well extinct too.
The difference between the two-toed and three-toed sloths is that they vary in the number of neck bones that they consist of. The two-toed sloth has six neck bones and the three-toed sloth has nine neck bones. However, majority of mammals has seven neck bones which is known as the vertebrae.
It’s known that the more neck bones a mammal has, the more it can rotate its neck. Which is why the three-toed sloth can rotate its head for up to 270degrees, and the two-toed sloth sticks with 90degrees. Here are details in brief about these two type of sloths.
- How Many Types of Sloths are there?
- Two Toed Sloths
- 1. Linne’s Sloth
- 2. Hoffmann’s Sloth
- Three Toed Sloths
- 3. Maned Sloth
- 4. The Brown-Throated Sloth / The Bolivian Sloth
- 5. Pale-Throated Sloth
- 6. Pygmy Sloth
- What is the difference between two-toed and three-toed sloths?
- Some Extra Facts About Sloths
How Many Types of Sloths are there?
The six species of the two-toed and three-toed sloths
|Three-Toed Sloths||Two-Toed Sloths|
|Pygmy (Bradypus Pygmaeus)||Linnaeus’s (Choloepus didactylus)|
|Manned (Bradypus torquatus)||Hoffman’s (Choloepus hoffmanno)|
|Pale-throated (Bradypus tridactylus)|
|Brown-throated (Bradypus variegatus)|
Two Toed Sloths
Now we will provide brief descriptions about the two-toed sloths.
1. Linne’s Sloth
Linnaeus’ two-toed sloth lives in the wet tropical rain forest and can be found in 8 different counties. These species however are not in risks of extinction. This is because these sloths hang really high up in the canopies. Due to this, they are not visible by the humans or the predators that hunt for sloths.
Linnaeus’s tend to have very bizarre male to female ratios. This is because, if you spot a sloth all by itself, then there is an extremely high percentage of it being a male, and if you find a group of sloths, then these are all females. The reason for this is because there is less male species of the sloth, and females have outnumbered them. It’s more like a ratio of 11 female to 1 male.
This however means that male sloths have a very un-predictable life. When sloths mate, it lasts about 10 seconds and then they both crawl in different directions and are never to be seen again. The Linnaeus’s sloths don’t smile much because they only have few teeth, and also they don’t have enamel like human’s do. Their teeth grows back due to the two lays of dentin which keep their teeth looking fresh at all times.
2. Hoffmann’s Sloth
Hoffmann’s sloth can be found in many countries and they can be found so easily because of the majority of their existence. However they also seem to be decreasing in number due to the human and natural destruction of the rain forests which they live in.
It is easy to catch a Hoffmann’s sloth because they usually wander onto different places. However they seem to put a fight than three-toed sloths do.
This specie also faces the ratio problems. The male Hoffmann’s sloth are usually forced to live alone when the females gather and live in groups. Also the female sloths are physically larger than the male sloths.
The two-toed sloths mostly consume tree leaves, but they still love to eat any wild berries, fruits or flowers that they come across. Since their teeth’s are designed to grow back, they don’t seem to have a problem with chewing even forever.
Their stomach are separated into 3 different compartments, where we humans have one big compartment.
The first two compartments helps with digesting the leaves and plants that they munch on all day long. The remaining compartment does what our compartment does, it fully digests and produces the output of stool.
The process however varies from human digestion and sloth digestion. The digestion process of Sloths take up to a month or 30days. Which means that anything they eat a day takes a 30 day period of time in order to digest. Since it takes so long for the digestion, 2/3 of Sloths body weight is actually leaves that they consume.
Just the same as Linneaus’s sloth, the Hoffmann sloth also slings high up in the canopies hidden from the predators and human hunters.
The one difference between two-toed Linneaus’ sloth and two-toed Hoffmann’s sloth is that they have slightly different shaped skull when compared. Also, the Hoffmann’s sloth is born with less and less neck bone compared to the Linneaus’ sloth, which indeed makes it easier for them to rotate their necks.
Three Toed Sloths
Here’s a brief description about the three-toed sloths.
3. Maned Sloth
The manned sloth is the sloth that is closest to extinction, this is because they can only be found in the wet forest of South Eastern Brazil. This forest is a very small in size, and even this is being further destructed by the nature as well as human being.
The most favorite place that these sloths love to swing into, is the evergreen forests.
However, the reason why these sloths swing around this forest is because it is hot, humid and is greatly poured down in rain. These conditions makes it a perfect fit for sloths to thrive into.
Their fur is light brown to grey in color, and can be easily identified because of the long and dark hair around their neck. This dark hair around its neck is what gives the unique reason for its name as well, since it is similar to the mane of a lion.
The male sloth tends to have darker and thicker mane around its neck, however the female’s one is barely visible.
Yet physically the female sloth is larger than the male sloth. Their fur is however flocked with different type of bugs and ticks. Their eyes are surrounded with darker fur which spreads along their cheeks.
The reason why they are able to swing around thin branches is because they tend to be very less in weight than other mammals. However, the manned sloth tends to have the easiest life compared to its other species, all what they do is eat, sleep and swing to different branches, and then prepare for digestion once a week. Such an easy life led by a sloth, how lucky.
4. The Brown-Throated Sloth / The Bolivian Sloth
They are also known as Bolivian sloth, however they are found around many different countries. These species are however doing fine, and are not facing the risks of extinction, yet the individual sets of these species seems to be getting smeared due to certain destructions that take place.
Brown-throated sloths are mostly found in Neotropical Eco zones, which in other words mean that they are found in several forests throughout South and Central America.
Both male and female sloths are about the same in size and physical appearance, which makes them different from other sloths.
Amid all these fur, they tend to have a little tail hiding amid. Also they seem to have peg-shaped teeth in the front and a very few of it in either side. What’s so surprising about their teeth is that it actually grows back, and it is made of enamel which are meant to grow back no matter how many times it breaks. These brown-throated sloths are born with Gall blabbers and appendix.
Their fur is however greyish brown in color, or beige at some point. Just like the pale-throated sloth they too have darker fur around their eyes which spreads along the cheeks and additionally on the forehead too.
Their throat is however covered in dark brown fur. Just like what their name says actually.
It is also said that the two-toed Hoffmann’s sloth is larger in size than the three-toed brown throated sloth. Brown-throated sloths are however much more scarce in the wild. The brown-throated sloth is also very active and spends most of their day swinging around, or travelling. They also tend to be awake in the day, unlike other sloths, who usually sleep in the day. The male sloths usually fight each other using their slow, however these fight would take up a lot of time, since they are quiet slow.
5. Pale-Throated Sloth
They are usually found in the tropical rain forest of South America. Mostly in the northern regions. The pale-throated sloth is commonly mixed up with the brown-throated sloth, and vice versa, this is because they both live around the same area.
The difference between these two sloths can be figured by their necks. The pale-throated sloth is said to have a yellow spot on its throat. The pale-throated sloth has a small roundly shaped head with a little pair of ears that is usually covered up with fur. Their fur is mostly blackish-gray in color with a much darker black patch on its back, hips and shoulders.
However it is quiet easy to identify the difference between which one is the male, and which one is the female. The male sloth is said to have a bright yellow or orange colored patch on its back, followed with a central black stripe through it. The female sloths are however physically larger and stronger and are more durable than the male.
These sloth also have a few teeth and grows back in time, in layers. It is usually compared to how our fingernails grow. Their tongue is however long and pink in color, this stands out when they open their mouth as their mouth is lined with a black mucus like thing. The saliva is however black in color.
There are few predators that hunt these sloths, the worst of these predators are harpy eagles and humans. However Jaguars, anacondas and some other predators won’t hesitate if they get a chance to snatch one.
These sloths sounds like birds whistling. When it comes down to mating, they tend to have two positions. It’s either the male over the females back, and otherwise they do it while facing each other.
It takes about 6 months for the female sloth to give birth to its baby, and these babies are born with all their fur however it is lighter in shade than those of what the adults have.
The baby sloth tends to have solid food only after three weeks. However after a month has passed, they seem to be fully weaned.
At the age of three, they are sexually matured and are able to mate to produce their own babies.
6. Pygmy Sloth
There are several other names given for a Pygmy Sloth, which are monk sloth and dwarf sloth. They can be found in a small island which is off the coast of Panama, this island is called Isla Escudo de Veraguas.
However, these sloths are very close to extinction. This so called small island is actually a giant nature which is still being destroyed by certain human as well as the nature. They are usually found on the red mangroves tree. Life is however quiet difficult for these sloths, due to several human hunting them down for their fur. It’s said that there is only 80 of these sloths remaining in the wild. As you can see, they are really about to extinct.
This sloth is known to be the smallest of the 6 species that exist. They only consume the leaves of a red mangrove tree, however they also love to eat juicy insects that occasionally fly past them.
These sloths fur is covered by algae, because they are known to move very slowly. However, no one has come across to know about how these sloths reproduce. So we are unable to provide you with that information.
What is the difference between two-toed and three-toed sloths?
The two-toed sloths are much larger in physical appearance, however the three-toed sloth is smaller. Also the two-toed sloths have bigger eyes with longer hair and both their back and front legs are equal in length.
However, when measured, the two-toed sloth and the three-toed sloth tends to have longer arms. You cannot seem to choose which one is the longest, since they both do seem like the same. So it is hard to tell which one is the longest.
Even though they have a lot of fur which doesn’t show you the existence of their tail, the three-toed sloth tends to have a longer tail than the two-toed sloth, surprising isn’t it? To know that sloths have tails, well their fur is quiet busy and a lot, which is why it won’t show.
Some Extra Facts About Sloths
They are excellent swimmers
That’s right, sloths can swim really well. Since they have long arms, it is easy for them to pull themselves through the water with much broader strokes, which allows them to swim faster. However, they don’t seem to crawl all the way from the ground just to swim, since they usually dive in from one of the trees up above, into the water. This makes them great divers too.
The Mating call
When the female is in need of a male to mate with, she tends to scream and this brings all the male sloths which is nearby to her tree. This is how the female calls out when they are in need of a mating session.
The defensive claws
The only possible way for a sloth to defend itself, is with the use of its claws. They have really large claws which could wound or even scare away the predators. However, sloths are not that good when it comes down to fighting and defending, so they are usually won over by the predators. Yet, this is why most of the sloths tend to stay up on the trees which leaves them safe from the predators.
Sloths may however seem slow when they move, so being way high up in a tree is a perfect way to protect themselves, due to how slow they move, even if they do move it would seem like it’s just another branch which is swaying in the wind.
Hangs even when dead
The claws and the muscles of a sloth is very well designed and is very strong that even if a sloth dies, they still continue hanging and does not seem to fall. Their body is very well designed when it comes to hanging upside down, they always hang upside down, so even if they are dead, their body is able to balance itself to hanging upside down.
Sloth tend to have very low body temperature when compared to other mammals of their size. The reason that they have to eat all the time is because of the low metabolic rate of their body. Since all they eat is leaves, and also this takes a long time to digest which is the main reason why they don’t have much energy in their body to help keep the temperature.
How long a sloth can live
A sloth can live up to 20 years if there are no destructions taking place. The reason why these animals are going extinct is because of the destruction of the nature, and also due to other human hunting these animals down. However, if none of this takes place, then a sloth can live up to that many years.
Most of them believe that they can help Sloth’s by adopting them as pets, however sloths are not suitable for living as a pet, they tend to live in freedom at all times, so living as a pet would also reduce their longevity.
The speed of a Sloth – Sloths can be lazy animals, however they can move about 2 meters a minute when on ground, and at least 3 meters swinging from tree to tree. So this shows that they do have some effort put in their daily lives, especially when they have to always walk around with a heavy stomach which digests only once in 30 days.
Did you know
Did you know that a sloth sleeps for at least 15 to 20 hours a day? That’s right, they tend to sleep almost always. Leading a luxury life with all what they have to do is sleep, swing to different trees and much on leaves or swim if they feel like it. Makes me wish I was a sloth too.
Sloths are however great animals, and are very cute to observe. Along with their fur which makes them look like adorable fluffy little fellows. However, they can be dangerous at times when it comes to self-defense. Also they stink a lot as they are slow in moving, which means that they have a lot of bugs that grow inside their fur.
You do not want yourself to be attached with those bugs now. However it would be great if these destructions would dis continue, since these species are running out of time for every little destruction that takes place. These animals deserve to live with freedom, and not with the fear of getting hunt down by predators and human beings.
I hope that someone would begin to take some action towards these destructions and help with getting rid of the extinction of these amazing animals.