Two-toed sloth

Sloth drawing
  • Relatives: xenarthrans → megalonychids
  • Habitat: tropical rainforests
  • Diet: primarily leaves
  • Life expectancy: 25 years
  • Way of life: solitary animal
  • Reproduction: 10-month gestation period, one offspring
Habitat sloth

Sloths sleep up to 16 hours a day and are generally rather slow when moving around. During their movement they only reach speeds of about 1 km/h. Digestion is also slowed down among sloths. They only relieve themselves every four to five days, and for this purpose they climb down from the trees to the ground.
Two-toed sloths give birth to their young after a gestation period of 10 months. The offspring is already fully developed at birth, and for example already has a complete set of teeth. After a few weeks the offspring are already weaned, but only fully self-sufficient with nine to twelve months of age. Until then they lie on the mother’s belly while she climbs through the trees.

Perfectly adapted to life in the trees
Two-toed sloths are native to the tropical rainforests in northern South America. Here the nocturnal animals spend most of their life in the trees. Mating and birth also take place here. They are optimally adapted to this way of life. Two-toed sloths have two fused “fingers” on their forelegs and three fused “fingers” on their hind legs, with large sickle-shaped claws which are well suited for climbing on branches. The parting of their grey-brown to beige coat is on the belly of sloths, so that rainwater can run off better. In the rainy season their coat has a greenish shimmer. This is due to the symbiosis with an alga which optimally camouflages the sloths in the green of the leaf canopy of trees and makes them virtually invisible.

You can experience these and many other animals at Rostock Zoo, home to 4,500 animals in 450 different species from all over the world.