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International Sloth Day 2022

Today, October 15, the third Saturday of the month, International Sloth Day is commemorated, an initiative that arose thanks to the First International Meeting on the Welfare and Conservation of Sloths, held in Medellín, Colombia, in 2010.

By KashifPublished 4 months ago 2 min read

Are sloths dangerous?

Despite its impressive claws, the sloth is not dangerous to humans. This animal can be aggressive only if it feels threatened. At that time it could bite or scratch. But in general it is peaceful and lonely. One of his oddities is that thanks to having an additional vertebra in his neck he can turn his head 270°. This allows it to be alert to the attack of its natural predators: ocelot, jaguar, eagle and other birds of prey.

There are two kinds of sloths

Sloths are folivorous or phytophagous (vegetable-eating) mammals. And they belong to the xenarthran family, although they are often believed to be apes. They are actually relatives of armadillos and anteaters. Its natural habitat is the forests and lowland areas of Central and South America.

The genus Bradypus is characterized by having three clawed toes on each front foot. There are four species. As for the genus Choloepus , they only have two fingers and there are two species. In all cases the fingers are provided with prominent and powerful claws. That they serve to feed and if necessary to defend themselves.

Is it as slow as they say?

Sloths feed mainly on leaves. This is a food that has a minimum nutritional value. To compensate for the low quality of its food, it eats considerable amounts of leaves at one time. This implies that you do not need to drink water. Also, food can spend up to a month in the digestive tract, so it only poops once a week. That is why he spends most of his time sleeping. And when he does move, he does so with little energy from his meager diet.

an expert swimmer

Its slow and sometimes unsteady gait could imply that the sloth is not a good swimmer. But surprisingly it is the opposite. The claws also make it difficult for him to move. But this problem disappears as soon as it is submerged. It is capable of moving through water up to three times faster than on dry land. And you can hold your breath for 14 minutes.

Live with an alga

The sloth's fur is home to an impressive number of small creatures. Among them, certain green algae stand out. This symbiotic relationship is positive for both. The algae benefit from the permanent moisture of your hair, where they proliferate. And the sloth gains a greenish tint that helps it camouflage itself better. In addition, they provide nutrients that it absorbs through its skin.

giant ancestors

Currently, the sloth measures between 45 and 75 cm. But his ancestors were much larger. The Megatherium was a true giant sloth. This animal was more than 6 meters long and weighed 3 tons. It lived in South America during the Pleistocene, that is, between 11,700 and 2.6 million years ago. International Sloth Day 2022.

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