Q:

What animals eat sloths?

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Quick Answer

The main predators of sloths are jaguars, large birds of prey and snakes. The sloth's long claws, which are more often used for climbing trees and hanging from branches, are its only defense against predators in the wild. Sloths are most vulnerable during their infrequent trips down from the trees to ground level.

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What animals eat sloths?
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Full Answer

The slow-moving sloth is no match for the jaguar, which is the third-largest cat in the world. Known for its power and agility, the jaguar can ambush and kill a sloth with one bite. While it does most of its hunting on the ground, the jaguar can even follow a sloth up into the trees.

Large birds of prey, specifically the harpy eagle, also hunt sloths. The harpy eagle is the largest and most powerful raptor found in the Americas. Researchers in Brazil collected the remains from prey offered to the harpy's nestlings and determined that 79 percent of the harpy's prey was composed of two sloth species. Bradypus variegatus amounted to 39 percent of the harpy's prey, and Choloepus didactylus totaled 40 percent. However, the majority of sloth deaths in Costa Rica do not occur because its natural predators kill them. Instead, they are due to contact with electrical lines and human poachers.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where do sloths live?

    A:

    Sloths live in the rainforests of Central and South America. Two species of sloth live there today: the two-toed sloth and the three-toed sloth.

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  • Q:

    Why are sloths so slow?

    A:

    Sloths are slow because they have extremely low metabolic rates. In other words, they have very little energy and move slowly in order to conserve the energy that is available. This is due in part to their herbivorous diets.

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  • Q:

    Where do three-toed sloths live?

    A:

    According to "National Geographic" magazine, the natural habitat of the three-toed sloth is the rainforests of Central and South America. Their range extends from southern Mexico to central Brazil, though they are most heavily concentrated along the Atlantic coast in Venezuela, Guiana, Suriname and French Guiana.

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  • Q:

    What do three-toed sloths eat?

    A:

    Three-toed sloths eat leaves, shoots and fruit from the trees they live in, and in some cases will also eat small rodents or insects. Their diet lacks nutrition, and they get very little energy from it. It's speculated that sloths move so slowly for this reason. Three-toed sloths digest their food with the bacteria in their stomachs, which have four chambers, and the digestive process for one meal can take as long as one month.

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