Sloths are the coolest, and here’s why.
1. The sloth is the ultimate best friend
Three-toed sloths are best friends to the moths that live in their fur. These buddies spend most of their days chilling in the rainforest canopy together. But every week, the sloth will make its leisurely way down the tree to defecate, which makes them extremely vulnerable to predators. The question scientists have been asking for decades is: why don’t they just poo in the treetop?
Well, one study suggests that they come down, risking their lives, to let their moth friends lay eggs in the ground. Now that’s true friendship!
2. Sloth hair has magical powers
Scientists recently found 84 types of fungi in sloth hair, some of which were actively fighting against malaria, human breast cancer and other diseases. So basically, sloths could save humanity.
3. Sloths give birth hanging upside down
Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary/flickr
I don’t remember being born, but I imagine it’s a pretty disorienting experience. Just imagine being born in midair and having to cling with all your new-baby strength to the nearest thing just to prevent falling to your death. Welcome to your life, baby sloth.
4. Sloths never give up
Born upside down in a tree, as sloths also die upside down in a tree. Some have been known to maintain their grip on the branch even after death.
5. Sloths are champion swimmers
Way to defy stereotypes, sloths. They may be slow-moving on land and in trees, but in water, they are speed demons. They can also hold their breath for up to 40 minutes.
6. Sloths have swivel power
Dale L. Puckett/flickr
Unlike almost all mammals, three-toed sloths have nine neck bones (most mammals only have seven). Thanks to this little evolutionary trick, they can turn their heads a whopping 270 degrees. Never try to hide from a sloth.
7. Two-toed sloths have a secret identity
You would think that three-toed and two-toed sloths can be distinguished by the number of toes they have. Wrong! Two-toed sloths actually have three toes. The difference is in the number of fingers, not toes. The confusion comes from a mistranslation (in Spanish, dedo means finger, but it can sometimes be translated to toe).
8. Sloths have a very good reason for being lazy
A sloth’s metabolism is half the rate expected for a mammal of its size. With their bodies working so hard to digest food, it’s no wonder the little guys aren’t the fastest movers in the animal kingdom.
9. You’ll never find anything cuter than a baby sloth
Case in point:
Dale L. Puckett/flickr
Top photo: bokkema/flickr