Linnaeus’ Two-toed Sloth
Range: Central and South America
Habitat: Hot humid tropical forests
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Choloepus didactylus
All sloths have 3 claws on their hind limbs. Two-toed and three-toed sloths were formerly placed in the same family but the two genera have profound behavioral and anatomical differences and are believed to come from two different fossil lineages. They are now placed in separate families. The 2-toed sloth is larger, faster, and nocturnal. Their diet is also more varied—eating mainly leaves and fruit. The 2-toed sloth has 6 or 7 neck vertebrae and vestigial tail. A 3-toed sloth is smaller, slower and both diurnal and nocturnal. This family of sloth is comprised of highly specialized browsers—eating only leaves. 3-toed sloths have 8 or 9 neck vertebrae and have a stout tail that is around 2.7 inches long.
Sloths are more closely related to anteaters than armadillos. They cannot shiver to keep warm as other mammals do because of their unusually low metabolic rates and reduced musculature. They have the lowest muscle mass relative to overall body weight of any mammal. Sloths sleep a lot more than we do! They sleep 15 to 18 hours per day! Approximately 6 hours each day are spent foraging. Passage of food through gut takes 6-21 days; this usually takes only hours for other herbivores
Scovill Zoo’s sloth, Eden, was born November 2008 at Cleveland Metropark Zoo. She moved to Cincinnati Zoo in 2010 and arrived at Scovill Zoo in May 2012.