Fun Facts About Sloths

Last week, I wrote a blog post about Slothee Wants Coffee, a children's book by Nikki Pezzopane and Cameron Fica.  In Slothee Wants Coffee, a sloth named Slothee traveled the world in search of the perfect cup of coffee.  Today's blog post is full of fun facts about sloths like Slothee.  Keep reading to learn more about these fascinating... and absolutely adorable... animals!

Learn fun facts about sloths, what sloths eat and drink, where sloths live, how sloths protect themselves, and sloths' conservation status.

What Are Sloths?

Sloths are mammals that live in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. They are related to anteaters. Unlike anteaters that live on the ground, sloths spend most of their lives hanging in the trees.

a sloth hanging upside down on a tree branch

What Do Sloths Eat and Drink?

Sloths are omnivores.  They prefer to eat buds, blossoms, leaves, and tender shoots from trees but will eat insects, small lizards, and dead animals as well.  Since sloths have slow metabolisms, they don't need a lot of food or water throughout the day.

a sloth eating a hibiscus flower

How Do Sloths Protect Themselves?

Sloths aren't aggressive animals and depend on camouflage to protect themselves from jaguars, eagles, and humans.  Fungus grows on sloths' fur giving sloths their green color.  That green color helps sloths blend into the leaves of trees.

green fungus grows on this sloth's fur

Types of Sloths

There are two main types of sloths in the world.  They are either a Choloepus or a Bradypus sloth.   All sloths have three toes on their back paws but the Choloepus has two toes on their front paws and the Bradypus has three.

close up of the toes and claws of this sloth


Millions of years ago, there was a species of sloth called Thalassocnus. Thalassocnus was an unusual species... they are the only known aquatic species of sloth to have existed. Scientists believe Thalassocnus walked along the seafloor, digging up seaweed and seagrass to eat with their claws. They also had long tails to help them swim and dive.

skeleton of Thalassocnus in a museum case

Endangered Species

Two species of sloths... the maned and the pygmy... are critically endangered, meaning they will become extinct if nothing is done about it.  Deforestation and urbanization are the main threats to sloths.  Other threats include natural predators (eagles and jaguars), hunters, poachers, and animal traffickers.

a sloth hanging upside down on electrical wires

These are just a few fun facts about sloths.  To learn more fun facts about sloths, you can watch this Youtube video by Science Insider:

Did you enjoy learning new facts about sloths? If so, check out these other blog posts with fun facts about more animals:

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