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A sloth is an arboreal, solitary animal that lives in trees, feeds on leaves and moves very slowly. They are commonly found in the tropics, mainly in Central and South America. It is known to spend most of its lifetime in trees.
See the fact file below for more information on the sloth or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Sloth worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Sloths appeared over 35 million years ago and evolved into more than 50 species. Today, only six species still exist. Millions of years ago, sloths were much bigger than their modern counterparts, and the giant ancestors became extinct 10,000 years ago.
- A popular example of a giant sloth is the Megatherium sloth found in South America. Known as a ground sloth, it grew up to seven meters long and weighed seven tons.
- Sloths originally occupied North America but now their homes are in Central and South American tropical rainforests.
- Sloths are folivores, which means they exclusively feed on leaves. This type of diet doesn’t provide them much nutrition and energy, which is why sloths are slow. Even their digestion is slow, taking up to 30 days to digest a meal.
- Sloths like being alone. They are slow, sleepy and solitary. The only time they meet with other sloths is to mate. The only time a sloth ever leaves its tree is to poop or swim. Sloths poop and urinate only once a week and in only one place. And while sloths are usually found in trees, they are surprisingly good swimmers. They can hold their breaths underwater for up to 40 minutes.
- They are able to cling to tree branches because they have long claws, which can grow up to four inches long. Their claws make it difficult for them to walk on land though, so they spend most of their lives in trees. Their claws also provide protection from predators. A sloth’s predators are eagles, jaguars and snakes.
- Multiple insects and microorganisms reside in a sloth’s fur: algae, fungi, bacteria, beetles, insects and moths to name some. Green algae provide camouflage for them, which protects them from predators. A study in 2014 confirmed that sloth hair hosts multiple species of fungi that are able to fight off parasites causing malaria and Chagas disease.
- The two types of sloth are two-toed and three-toed sloths. Generally, two-toed sloths weigh more than three-toed sloths. Both species have three toes, but the two-toed sloth has two fingers on each hand. Two-toed sloths are nocturnal creatures while three-toed sloths are diurnal. Three-toed sloths can turn their heads up to 270 degrees.
- While the majority of mammals have seven neck bones, two-toed sloths have six and three-toed sloths have nine.
- There are six living species of sloth today: the pygmy three-toed sloth, the brown-throated sloth, the pale-throated sloth, the maned sloth, Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth and Hoffman’s two-toed sloth.
- The pygmy sloth is the smallest sloth species. It’s also called the monk sloth or the dwarf sloth. They can be found in Isla Escudo de Veraguas in Panama. They are critically endangered. They are hunted for their fur and their value as exotic pets.
- The maned sloth gets its name from the circle of hair around its neck, resembling that of a lion’s mane. The mane is more apparent in males than in females. The maned sloth is vulnerable to extinction because they can only be found in a particular area in south-eastern Brazil.
- The brown-throated sloth is also known as the Bolivian sloth, but that doesn’t mean they can only be found in Bolivia. They can be found in Central and South America. Its name is from the brown fur that covers their throat.
- The pale-throated sloth usually has black or gray fur with a pale yellow spot on its throat. This species can be found in South America.
- Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths are not endangered because they live high up in the canopies safe from predators and hunters. The female population of this species outnumbers the males. There are approximately 11 females to 1 male Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth!
- The Hoffman’s two-toed sloth female to male ratio is similar the Linnaeus two-toed sloth. The females are usually bigger in size, too. The Hoffman’s sloth is an abundant species but gradually decreasing in number because of deforestation and the exotic animal trade.
- The Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany claims that sloths in the wild sleep eight to nine hours a day.
- Gestation takes seven to ten months. The lifespan of a sloth can be up to 40 years.
- October 20 is International Sloth Day, which has been celebrated since 2010.
- Deforestation is a major threat to sloths because they are too slow to escape and their natural habitat is being destroyed. The Brazilian three-toed sloth is in danger of extinction due to deforestation of the eastern Brazilian forests. The best way to preserve sloths is by preserving rainforests.
- The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica is the only sloth orphanage in the world for sloths.
- In Greek mythology, Aergia is the goddess of sloth, which means laziness and idleness.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Sloth across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Sloth worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the sloth which is an arboreal, solitary animal that lives in trees, feeds on leaves and moves very slowly. They are commonly found in the tropics, mainly in Central and South America. It is known to spend most of its lifetime in trees.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Sloth Facts
- Slow, Sleepy and Solitary
- Trees of Truth
- Jumbled Vocabulary
- Three, Two, One
- Six Sloth Species
- Sloth Sketch
- Just Like the Sloth
- Trivia Talk
- Save the Sloth!
- Sloth Appreciation
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Link will appear as Sloth Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 22, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.