The first thing people say is; “But sloths always move so slowly, they’ll never catch you!” On my recent trip to the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica I learned that this is not necessarily true along with loads of other interesting facts.
What didn’t I like about sloths? Scary face, creepy slow-motion movements, weird long hair and freaky long arms with claws for paws. Show me a photo or video of a sloth and I would have instantly covered my eyes.
Now that I understand sloths, they don’t seem scary anymore. They move slowly to conserve energy because their diet is so low in calories. They have long hair in the tropics because their blood temperature is quite low for a mammal (28-34C). The natural relaxed position of their claws is closed, this allows them to hold on to a branch and fall asleep. They can stay in the same position for hours!
Our guide told us that sloths can be grouchy and you should never underestimate them. They can swipe those claws in defence at the same speed as a cat and can move, if they have to, at the equivalent of a slow jog.
I’m still not enamoured on the idea of a sloth going toilet once a week to deposit 2 litres of urine and 1 kilo of poop, but they have to climb to the ground where they are at most risk so there’s no way they are doing that every day.
It was Toyota’s sweet little slow-blinking face that charmed me and now I’m cured!